Treatment looms for Greytown mum

By Alisa Yong alisa.yong@age.co.nz -
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Nikki Regnault and husband Wayne say they are hugely grateful for all the support they have had over the past year. PHOTO/LYNDA FERINGA
Nikki Regnault and husband Wayne say they are hugely grateful for all the support they have had over the past year. PHOTO/LYNDA FERINGA

Help from the "best family and friends in the world" has given one Greytown woman the chance to beat a crippling disease.

After more than a year of fundraising, mother-of-three Nikki Regnault is set to embark on stem cell treatment this February, hoping to halt the progress of her multiple sclerosis.

With more than eight major fundraisers behind them, Mrs Regnault and husband Wayne said they could never have reached their $200,000 goal for overseas treatment without the support of family, friends and the wider community.

"It shows you that there are good people in the world," Mrs Regnault said.

"Little old Wairarapa -- it's amazing. Thank you just seems too simple."

The couple wished to express their "huge thanks" for all the help they had received, she said.

"I'm very blessed to have the best family and friends in the world. It wouldn't have been possible to do it without the support of my family and friends."

Mr Regnault said the family drew on the support of many people to plan events, run auctions and organise donations.

Some people had been "incredibly generous", he said.

"It just goes to show a lot of small things can build to a big number."

Their determination to keep on going had never wavered, Mr Regnault said.

"Never have we felt 'no, stuff it, we are not doing it' because there have been so many people with us the whole way."

The family are now preparing for Mrs Regnault's 10 to 14-week stint in Singapore General Hospital.

An important step before leaving was letting the children see her with her head shaved, something she decided to do before starting chemotherapy, Mrs Regnault said.

"I want them to know that it's still me. Hair is just an optional accessory -- and they have the time to see it's still mum.

"Mainly I did it for the kids but I also did it for me, so I could get myself in the zone."

Getting the treatment was finally becoming a reality and now was the time to "hitch up the big girl undies and take it on", Mrs Regnault said.

Stem cell treatment works by removing fresh stem cells from the patient's bone marrow and then destroying the malignant cells with chemotherapy.

The removed stem cells are then transplanted back into the patient.

Mrs Regnault's family will take turns staying with her in Singapore until she is well enough to return home.

The separation seemed like a long time to their three young children, the couple said.

"There will be sad times along the journey and they are going to miss their Mum but we are fortunate to have strong friends and family here," Mr Regnault said.

"All we can do now is deliver on their hope, deliver on the kids and deliver on Nikki and get back into the community."

"And hopefully we can pay it forward one day," Mrs Regnault said.

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