A former Tauranga woman battling crippling multiple sclerosis is hoping for a miracle and needs help to raise funds for treatment in Russia.

Whangarei mum Amanda Berry, 38, lives in Ruakaka with her husband Chris, their two children Noughtin, 3, and Nirvana, 2, and Amanda's daughter Beorn, 15, from a previous relationship.

Chris' 15-year-old daughter Alysha Purcell also visits regularly.

Berry has been accepted for stem cell treatment at the National Pirogov Medical Surgical Centre in Moscow starting on October 2 which required her to stay up to six weeks.


The treatment costs about $73,000 and would be followed by three months of isolation when she returned home.

With flights and expenses the estimated cost was nearly $100,000.

Berry started showing symptoms in February last year, with bad migraines and Bell's palsy. Daily she deteriorated, with an official diagnosis in November.

"I'm not able to keep up with the kids, I'm not able to take Beorn to anything."

She suffered dizziness and at the end of the day her body was so exhausted it "freezes".

Berry's speech is slow and she gets fatigued quickly.

"I have to think even harder to a get a sentence out."

Her husband said she went from headaches to body aches to slow small movements.


"Gradually to the point of now. The easiest way to explain her movement is like walking in a wind tunnel. I don't think I've seen the old Amanda since February last year.

"It [the treatment] will stop the progression and give Amanda quality of life," he said.

It won't return Berry to complete health but there are "definitely positives".

"Some people have gone over in wheelchairs and are now able to walk with walking sticks," he said.

The couple, who got married in February this year at Ruakaka Beach, moved north from Tauranga close to two years ago.

"There are such lovely walks [in Whangarei], we can't even do anything, but we're going to be able to with treatment," Berry said.

She has started a Facebook video blog, 'Getting the MS out of me'."

Friends and family all over the North Island have pitched in with fundraisers with about half the money raised so far, including some of the couple's KiwiSaver funds.

Tauranga wedding celebrant Kate Lowell, who has been friends with Berry for 22 years, is holding a fundraising concert at Bethlehem Hall on August 18.

The $45 ticketed event includes entertainment by three local musicians, food, refreshments, a photo booth and raffles.

Lowell said the disease was aggressively stealing Berry's ability to be herself, a wife and mother.

"It's heartbreaking to see how fast the MS is attacking her body. Every day Amanda is racked with pain and Chris is working 70-80 hours a week to keep the family afloat.

"Amanda and her family need a miracle, a miracle at this time that can only be found in Moscow, and with people's help we can get her there," she said.

For tickets go to https://wwwfactbookcom/events/1806256982792807. Plus check out https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/a-miracle-for-amanda.

Additional reporting - NZME