Aloha! My name is Jeff Root. I am 38 years old and live in the beautiful island of Oahu, Hawaii. Early next year, I will be traveling to Russia for Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (HSCT) treatment to halt the progression of my symptoms from Multiple Sclerosis.
I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at age 28, the prime of life. At that time, I was serving in the U.S. Army as a Vietnamese linguist. I had a promising career in the Army that I was truly proud to be a part of. As a linguist, my team deployed to Vietnam for excavation missions to search for remains of our missing service members from the Vietnam War, and bring them home to their families.
My initial symptoms were optic neuritis in my right eye and tingling in my arms and legs. I began my treatment with a disease modifying therapy that slows the progression of the disease, however, as time progressed, so did my disease. Unable to fully perform all the duties required of a soldier, I was medically retired by the Army in 2006. Since retirement, my symptoms continue to progress. I now must use a cane to aid with my balance and walking abilities, especially when I am outside of my home. My disease has also limited much of my abilities to enjoy the simple pleasures of life, like a walk on the beach, which I truly miss.
I have decided to pursue treatment in Russia because I can see where my life is headed. I want my life back! I know that I have to do something drastic to stop the disease. There are many opportunities and experiences that I would like to take in my lifetime. First, I want to be a partner to my wife and not become dependent on her for everything. Second, I would like to someday walk my daughter down the aisle and dance with her on her wedding day. Third, I would like to walk across the stage on commencement day to receive my MBA degree. Ultimately, I want to live a normal life. For all these reasons and more, I am willing to undergo the treatment for the chance to get better.
Thank you to all for your support and kind words of encouragement. It will be a long process and I will do my very best to keep everyone updated through this website, as I take this journey. Until then…