When Dan Campbell went in for a routine medical check up before a job interview, he was given a reflex test. Instead of the leg hit by that little doctor’s hammer moving up, his other leg moved.
That was the first sign of primary progressive multiple sclerosis (MS).
Now, about three years later, his neighbour is organizing a GoFundMe campaign to help Dan and his wife Casey as his symptoms begin to worsen.
“It’s been like watching a slow-motion shitty movie,” fundraiser organizer Hillary Shearing said. “[The disease] makes its move really quickly. They’ve tried everything.”
The GoFundMe page has raised more than $8,000 in the first three days, with more donations coming to the couple offline.
“It proves people still have some empathy,” Shearing said. “We’re in a weird time with COVID-19; it’s nice to see warmth come across our social media.”
Dan and Casey run a website where they share their story and even offer recipes for people living with MS. Shearing said making dietary changes to help fight the effects of MS has been tough on Dan.
“We’re talking about a meat and potatoes farmer who lived for living in the sticks,” she said. “Going to no alcohol, no sugar, no grain, none of the fun stuff.”
The couple has tried vegan, raw, even juiced diets. They even have a machine to balance the pH of their tap water.
“It’s only been the last five months where symptoms have gotten really bad; he’s lost mobility.” Shearing said. “It’s kind of scary for everybody. You always have hope; every time they try something new, this could be the one that will remiss it.”
Shearing said while she knew Quesnel was a giving community, she’s been heartened by the response, both to the GoFundMe and the situation.
“Quesnel is amazing,” she said. “I’ve never been so proud of a community. We moved back here for the community … It blows my mind. We’ve got people from Alberta donating that don’t event know us, just because they’re friends with people from Quesnel. It’s pretty miraculous.”
While the GoFundMe money is planned to be used for mobility upgrades at the couple’s farm, Shearing said Dan isn’t letting his disease dictate his entire life.
“He can barely get around, but he’s still going down the stairs and bringing bins of firewood up,” she said. “He said ‘you can’t do everything for me; I can still do it.’ He is so full of life and determination.”
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