Family man, Dimitri Garbas, is attempting to raise funds to allow him to undergo a potentially life-changing multiple sclerosis procedure in Russia.
Dimitri currently resides in Adelaide with his wife, Lisa, two-year-old daughter, Kristina and eight-month-old son, Joseph.
MS has debilitated Dimitri’s basic abilities, and he is hopeful that this procedure will enable him to live a normal life again.
“I want to be there for my family. I want to be able to dance with my daughter on her wedding day,” says Dimitri.
Dimitri woke one morning in September of 2017 with a sore back and numbness down the left-hand side of this body.
Naively, he thought the pain was brought on by sleeping awkwardly during the night. Little did he know, this was the beginning of his MS journey.
As the day progressed, Dimitri’s symptoms did not alleviate.
“Deep within me, I knew I wasn’t right. My instincts were telling me this is not just a ‘sore back’. I was simply afraid to face the doctors, for the news that would change my life,” explains Dimitri.
Over the course of the following days, Dimitri’s health deteriorated, his body began to feel heavier and heavier.
Dimitri was rushed to hospital with a suspected heart attack and undertook a variety of tests, scans and x-rays to discover the route of the issue.
“I thought to myself, ‘I am 30 years old in the prime of my life. I’ve got a wife, the perfect job, a baby on the way. Everything was just good’,” says Dimitri.
A spinal tap revealed that Dimitri had multiple sclerosis.
The day Dimitri was diagnosed with MS was the day his life changed forever.
Spasmodic Dysphonia soon took over Dimitri’s body.
“It is one of the most terrifying things you can go through. It’s so tough having your own body destroy you. It’s the fear of the unknown,” explains Dimitri.
“I would rather my health over anything.”
Dimitri now struggles with daily tasks, such as speaking, picking up a book to read to his daughter, or playing with his newborn son.
“It’s hard to see my children not understand what’s happening to me,” explains Dimitri.
Dimitri began researching the disease and found a Hematopoietic Stemcell Transplantation (HSCT) for MS patients available in Russia.
According to Dimitri, a version of the treatment is available in Australia, but is only available for MS patients who have already had the disease result in almost unrepairable damage, something that Dimitri is not willing to wait for.
Dimitri is hoping the funds raised will allow him to get to Russia and undergo the treatment.
The HSCT procedure alone costs up to $85,000.
After the transplantation, Dimitri intends to stay in Russia for three to four months of isolation to ensure his immune system returns to a healthy level.
Once he arrives back in Australia, he will then need another two months of isolation.
Dimitri has raised almost half of the funds, with a long way still to go.