Mom hopes stem-cell treatment can help son

A conference about the healing properties of stem-cell treatment was held at Century City at the weekend. From left are Tahlia Sutton with Daniel standing in front, Dr Pradeep Mahajan and Ms Sutton's aunt, Jill Sutton. Ms Sutton is raising funds for Daniel to undergo stem-cell therapy.

A Table View mother has hopes of flying her son to India for stem-cell treatment to improve his quality of life.

Daniel Goodall is 7 but has stared death in the face, surviving two strokes as a baby after contracting meningitis.

On New Year’s Eve in 2012, doctors warned his parents, Tahlia Sutton and Stuart Goodall, there was a high probability their two-month old boy would not make it through the night.

“They said Daniel had suffered two strokes, and if he stopped breathing they would not be resuscitating him as there would be no quality of life.

“Daniel had picked up two types of meningitis from a staphylococcal bacterial infection. They said even if he was to make it, he would be in a vegetative state for the rest of his life. ‘It’s time to start preparing yourself,’ they said.”

Although Daniel pulled through, he was left with life-changing effects, including stage-2 cerebral palsy, epilepsy, low muscle tone, delayed speech and global developmental delay.    

“It’s been a challenge, but Daniel is taking each day, day by day and continues to push forward,” Ms Sutton said.

Daniel has been offered a special kind of stem-cell treatment at StemRx BioScience Solutions, a biotechnology company based at the Seven Hills Hospital in Mumbai, India.

The treatment won’t be a cure, but Daniel’s parents hope it will improve their son’s quality of life.

On Saturday March 7 regenerative medicine researcher Dr Pradeep Mahajan, who heads up StemRX, gave a talk at the Stay Easy hotel about the benefits of cellular therapy.

For now, legislation in many countries, including South Africa, did not allow the regenerative therapy treatment he offered, said Dr Mahajan.

Antibiotics started as early as 1912, but it only gained popularity in the 1940s. The same will happen with stem-cell therapy. It is all part of the evolution of science,” said Dr Mahajan.  

In his presentation, he covered research in regenerative medicine and the potential of stem cells to treat diabetes; orthopaedic conditions, such as osteoarthritis; neurological conditions, such as autism, cerebral palsy, Parkison’s disease; and autoimmune conditions, such as psoriasis, lupus and multiple sclerosis.

You carry your own repair kit in your body, said Dr Mahajan.

“Cells are part and parcel of your body. It is a living, breathing entity that communicates with your body unlike a pill. Pills can only treat. Cells can repair,” he said.

The treatment includes harvesting the cells from the body then re-injecting them to the area in need. In Daniel’s case, he said, stem cell treatment would improve new cell formation. It would help to repair the brain by creating new neural tissue which had been lost. 

Lisa and Chris Joseph, from Richwood, took their son, Christian, to India last year to be treated by StemRX.

Ms Joseph was one of the parents who spoke at the conference about their experience with the stem-cell treatment programme.

Ms Joseph said she had been sceptical at first about the treatment but was willing to try it to improve Christian’s quality of life.

Christian suffers from autism and global developmental delay.

Before his treatment, he struggled to make eye contact, had an obsession with balloons and would only eat certain foods. But a day after his treatment, Ms Joseph said she had noted improvement.

He had been able to play a spelling game on a tablet he had not known how work the day before, she said. He had also been unable to spell.

“He now does mainstream school work at a home school facility,” said Ms Joseph. His obsession with balloons, she said, had gone and he had been crowned “super speller of the year” in his class.

“Every day, there is something new, some sort of improvement,” she said. 

Ms Sutton said hearing other parents’ success stories gave her hope and put her at ease about doing the treatment. 

“I just want him to have a better quality of life,” she said.

Daniel’s family has held two fund-raisers to date to raise money to get Daniel’s treatment done. So far they have raised just under R30 000. They need R150 000 for the treatment.

To learn more about Daniel’s story go his Facebook page, Nosh for Daniel. If you would like to make a donation, call Ms Sutton at 071 404 8599.   

To learn more about Christian’s story go to his Facebook page, Get Christian to India, for stem cell therapy.