Hayley McDougall can barely put her gratitude into words. Thanks to community support, she is now able to have the surgery that could reduce the unrelenting head pain she has endured for the past 10 years.
After local fundraising and awareness, a lawyer came forward to help and got McDougall’s doctors to write to the Medical Services Plan (MSP), which reviewed the situation and agreed to pay for the surgical portion of treatment after previously refusing to do so. The experimental treatment for the condition, called new daily head pain, will take place at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona, where McDougall has already had surgery in 2008 and 2010. The surgery will replace the electrical device implant to the exact points of pain with the aim of reducing the pain.
“In my most raw honesty, I have to reserve my hope. There is no proof this will work but it is my only option and I am doing it for myself, of course, but also for others who have what I have. Now it should be easier for others to get the surgery if they need it and doctors can see how it works,” she said.
“To have the community come together for us with such generosity has been unbelievable and it’s given me another ounce of strength to keep fighting. People I don’t even know have writing and are encouraging me and it’s another reason to stay strong and focussed.”
Now that MSP will pay for the surgical part of the operation, estimated at more than $100,000, the $30,000 raised in the community can be used for medical costs not covered, including the device, battery and leads and programs for the device, tens of thousands of dollars, as well as follow-up treatment and other costs, and travel expenses.
McDougall’s pain has been getting progressively worse and is now at a 10/10 level for most days, leaving her unable to be part of the lives of her husband, Mike Halliwell, and daughter, Sloan, two.
“I just have overwhelming gratitude to everyone in the community. I’m hugging people and in tears all the time,” said Kathy Goldie, McDougall’s mother. “It’s just amazing. With the MSP and the fundraising, it gives us the freedom to book the surgery. We’re waiting for a call now. Since this is a brand-new procedure, they are figuring out how to book it. It should be in early to mid October. Hayley was just speechless when she found out.”
While hope is in reach now, Goldie admits that she is nervous.
“This is hard to say, but I’m scared. She’s volunteering for another medical procedure. They’re going to put wires across the inside of her forehead. I’m filled with admiration for her and it could help her but I’m terrified. Now it’s attainable and we will see it through, hoping that it will relieve some of the pain and be part of the search for a cure for Hayley and others. We offer our heartfelt thanks to everyone for their past, present and future support.”