This is the translated version of the articles in Bergens Tidende (BT) and Aftenposten after my visit to Bergen, Haukeland Hospital today. The Norwegian version you will find in Bergens Tidende and Aftenposten. Text: Kari Pedersen. Photo: Rune Meyer Berentsen
Now there will be research and holiday!
Today Maria Gjerpe started the day by giving away 2.7 million and receive 16,000 kroner as a gift.
GIFTS AND THANKS: Maria Gjerpe has collected nearly 2.7 million to attempt a cure for ME, organized by cancer doctors Øystein Fluge and Olav Mella. In return, she received praise for her dedication, flowers and a check for 16,000 NOK from other ME sufferers.
– You have earned a long vacation now, Maria, said Sigrid Danielsen and handed Maria Gjerpe a check for 16.724 NOK. The gift is collected from grateful patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
This money has ME patient Gjerpe received strict orders to spend on herselves. The last three months, namely Gjerpe spent all her time raising money for others.
The end result for the ME crowdfunding, MEandYou, were almost 2.7 million NOK.
Today, the money was handed over to the cancer doctors Olav Mella and Øystein Fluge at Haukeland University Hospital. The two will use the collected millions to investigate whether the cancer drug Rituximab works on ME patients. (Continue)
MAKES ME PROUD:
– You make me proud to be part of this patient group and proud to be a doctor, said Gjerpe when she handed over the check to the two scientists.
– The money comes in very handy, said Olav Mella in his acceptance speech. Overall, it will cost 22 million to conduct a larger study with 140 patients in five different hospitals.
Last week it was announced that the Research Council will support the project. From there, it was applied to over 10 million NOK, whereas these mainly goes to cover medical expenses. In addition, its granted money from the state budget.
Stener Kvinnsland, CEO of Health Bergen, joined the two researchers thanksgiving and acknowledgement for the involvement Gjerpe have exhibited.
Kvinnsland took the opportunity to praise Fluge and Mella, who stumbled upon the possible ME-medicine as an ME patient treated with rituximab against cancer.
– I’m proud of these guys who suddenly sees something and pursuing the discovery, said Kvinnsland.
RAFFEL: Fluge and Mella has received inquiries from 6-700 ME patients and relatives who ask to try Rituximab.
All these, plus new ones that arise will be sorted, so that patients with clear CFS symptoms are selected. These will in turn be extracted and randomly choose to participate in the double blind test of 140 patients. This means that neither the doctors nor the patients know if they are fun or real medical care. The study is likely to start early next year. Only two years after the last patient has been processed, it is revealed who got what. Making Rituximab to standard treatment is thus more years into the future.
Maria Gjerpe has participated in trials with Rituximab. In March she received the last dose and started ME-collection the same day.
– I gave myself 90 days. Further, I could not expect to be healthy.
– How do you feel now?
– I feel perfectly healthy. I have done that in almost a year, says Maria Gjerpe satisfied.
Some has asked me about the fundraising for the gift for me, and Sigrid says she still collect money. Besides that, she has made a memory-group, which is secret for me (still!) If you want to join the group, send her a message and ask to be added, if you like.