Beckley woman would be the first in W.Va. to get new treatment - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

COPY-Beckley woman would be the first in W.Va. to receive new MS treatment

BECKLEY (WVVA) -- A local, young woman is lining herself up to be the first in the state to receive stem cell treatment for multiple sclerosis.

Leslee Pannell, 28, from Beckley was diagnosed with the disease in January.  Since then, she's been in and out of the hospital from difficult episodes of the disease. 

Pannell says she has not been responding well to regular treatments for MS, and it has made being a mother to her 3-year-old daughter tough.

The new stem cell treatment, HSCT, is in the FDA's third trial phase for clinical investigations.  Pannell worries about the risks, but worries even more what would happen if she did not undergo the new treatment. 

"I do everything that everyone else does, but it seems to be a fight," she says.  "And I would love to wake up, and not have to fight to do those regular things, and that's why this treatment is so important."

The treatment is pricey even with insurance.  Pannell will owe Northwestern doctors a lump sum of $150,000 before they even consider moving forward with the treatment.

Local businesses and other supporters have teamed up to help raise the money.  McBee's Irish pub will be holding a Halloween costume contest October 24.  Pasquale's Italian Restaurant will host a spaghetti dinner October 30. 

You can also go to to pledge a donation or find out how to get "Wear Orange for Leslee" paraphernalia.  There's a Wear Orange for Leslee Facebook page too. 

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