A Whanganui multiple sclerosis (MS) sufferer is being given hope by an "overwhelming response" from the public.

Briar Novis planned to travel to Russia for radical stem cell treatment in a bid to stop her MS from progressing, and potentially cure it - but she needed $95,000 to do it.

In less than three months, the 43-year-old has already raised more than $30,000.

Read more: Breaking barriers: Whanganui woman fights with ground-breaking stem cell treatment


Briar's mother Cherry Novis said the family had received an overwhelming response from the community.

"It has really touched our hearts."

Ms Novis said the Givealittle page had started to slow down but they were still getting a donation every week or so.

"We've received just over $13,000 from the page, then we've done raffles and even had strangers just coming up to us on the street."

Donations had come from as far as Australia and England, thanks to friends and family spreading the word.

The Wanganui Chronicle told Briar's story back in January.

After being diagnosed with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis four years ago, Briar Novis faced a dramatic decline.

"I can no longer walk without the assistance of my crutch and I'm permanently tired and fatigued," Briar told the Chronicle.


Briar's doctor Andrew Zimmerman said conventional treatments were not working and her condition was at the "severe end of the spectrum."

After seeing a 20/20 documentary about the autologous haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (aHSCT) for MS patients, she decided it was her last hope.

The treatment is not available in New Zealand but has been used in Russia, and other parts of the world, since the 1960s.

Patients endure a mild form of chemotherapy where about four million stem cells are mobilised from the bone marrow to the blood.

The immune system is killed off with heavier doses of chemotherapy, then the stem cells are reintroduced to the body to kick-start the immune system from scratch.

The therapy takes five weeks in total with about nine days in isolation. When Briar returns home after treatment she will be kept in isolation for three months, and won't get her whole immune system back for about two years.

For treatment, travel and accommodation they need to raise $95,000.

On Saturday from 8am to 1pm, the family will be hosting a garage sale on Rain St in Whanganui.

To make a donation visit Briar's Givealittle page or bank deposit to Briar Novis ANZ 06-0793-0805932-00.

To track Briar's progress, see her Facebook blog.