The Road to Freedom

This is the moment four-year-old Reece Wilks dreamed of. His mother Jan came to take him to school for the first time since the pioneering treatment left him in his wheelchair at home. Mother-of-two Jan Wilks has a crippling condition with multiple sclerosis. Thanks to the regenerative stem cell treatment, he was able to walk with Reece to the door of his classroom. This summer Ms Wilks, of Stockbridge Lane, Page Moss, had a controversial medical procedure at a private clinic desperate to keep her MS at bay. Within a few hours, he was on his feet without pain. Three months later, Mrs. Wilks' health is improving and she is able to walk to school from Beechwood Elementary School and Reece without assistance.


Speaking about the treatment, Ms Wilks, 45, said: "I'm fine. Everything about my health seems to be getting much better. It's the little things that mean a lot to me - the little victories. My legs are not perfect but I can stand tall and hang my clothes on a line. I don't have pain, I feel stronger, and I don't sleep all the time. I can play games with children. I have more patience and energy. Sometimes I find myself walking up the stairs and I can't believe that the treatment has worked so well. I made up with the kids. I feel good again. I'm back at work and everyone says I'm fine because all the pain in my face is gone." 

One of the highlights of the summer was a family holiday in Cornwall where Mrs Wilks could build a sand castle with her sons Reece and Daniel, 12, sit on the beach and spend the evening with her husband Paul. Treats sclerosis 

When Jan Wilks was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2000, his condition had no treatment or cure, and doctors said he would eventually be driven out and killed. Her husband, Paul Wilks, 40, spent hours on the Internet researching alternative treatments and discovered that stem cell therapy was being used in other parts of the world to help slow the progression of diseases such as Parkinson's, cancer and MS. But such an expensive system is not yet available in the UK.

The Wilks family were preparing to sell their house to pay for treatment in Holland when colleagues from the Asda store in Huyton stepped in to help, raising more than £13,000. Stem Cells - A Controversial Therapy 

Stem cells are the building blocks of all tissues and organs in the body. They have the ability to grow outside the body and can be transplanted to regenerate tissue in patients with damaged tissue. Cells can come from a variety of sources, including the fetus - but this makes stem cell therapy controversial as it raises questions about medical ethics. The cells used to treat Jan came from the umbilical cord which would have been destroyed. His treatment - which lasted just a few hours - injected cells into his body through a drip and injection into his bones to repair the damage.

This treatment has improved Jan's life, not only can he walk without help, but he has returned to work and is able to spend more quality time with his family, improving their lives better.