Briar Novis is off to Russia at the end of this week and she and her family say they are totally humbled by the $80,000 raised largely in Whanganui.

After being diagnosed with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) four years ago, Novis went through a dramatic decline.

Over the past few months she lost the use of her legs and needed a walking frame to get around.

In Russia Novis will receive a stem-cell treatment she hopes will cure her relapsing-remitting multiple-sclerosis.


She said the trip had been long in the making.

"It's taken so long, I've been so excited for ages. I'm starting to get nervous now. I'm still excited - because we're going on Sunday.

"I'm pretty excited and thankful and humbled actually that so many people are behind me."

Over months of fundraising events as well as a Givealittle page, the family have managed to raise $80,000. It's less than the initial target of $95,000 but it will cover the cost of the treatment which is about $77,000. Any extras will help the Novis family cover some of the airfares and accommodation.

Novis' mother, Cherry Novis, will go with her daughter on Sunday and she was extremely grateful for the support they had received.

"As we leave on this journey to Russia we would like to thank the people of Whanganui, New Zealand and the world for all their support.

"We would not be where we are today without the support of the hundreds of people who have donated in so many ways," Cherry Novis said.

"We thank all the lovely caring folk who donated money, and also those who gave us hugs, friendship, love and at times a much needed shoulder to cry on. You will never know how much we treasure all you have given us.


"We have had people approach us out in the community to wish us well and those words were taken to heart and made us feel loved and secure in what we are doing on this amazing journey to make Briar's dream come true and be able to walk unaided and be healthy once again.

"As they say it takes a village to raise a child ... it also takes a community to help along the way when people are in need."

Briar is in isolation at the moment so she doesn't get sick before they leave and possibly complicate the treatment. The family were packing bags and taking care of last minute preparations.

They will leave from Palmerston North on Sunday.

"We fly from Auckland to Singapore, then on to Moscow," Cherry Novis said. "[We are] arriving in Moscow at 6am their time and will go to the hotel first and at midday they [hospital staff] will pick us up and take Briar into hospital."

They will be there for 30 days and for that entire time Briar will be in hospital. Briar's partner Kelvin will be there for nine days and Briar's sisters will visit from Western Australia and the United Kingdom.


About MS:
• MS is a disease of the central nervous system
• MS affects 2.3 million people worldwide and 4000 people in New Zealand
• There are two types of MS; relapsing and remitting (R&R) MS and primary progressive MS. R&R means patients begin with periodic attacks that come on suddenly but then resolve. Eventually about half of those patients will go onto the progressive stage - in this stage you don't have discrete attacks, it's just a progressive accumulation of disability.
• More women than men have MS, with a global ratio of three women to one man
• Diagnosis of MS is generally between 20 and 40, although onset may be earlier
• MS attacks the nervous system. Symptoms can include sight loss, pain, fatigue, incontinence and disability.