A PARKINSON’S Disease sufferer from York is to travel to Kiev for pioneering stem cell treatment, in a last-ditch bid to tackle his worsening condition.

James DeLittle, 49, hopes the two-day treatment in the Ukrainian capital will lessen his symptoms, which include poor balance, tremor, difficulties controlling his limbs and slurred speech.

James’s mother, relatives and customers at three pubs in the York and Selby area have scraped together about £7,000 to pay for foetal stem cells to be injected into his stomach and arms.

His condition has worsened significantly in recent months, causing him to fall several times, suffering injuries including a broken nose, ribs and thumb joint.

James, of Broadway West in Fulford, said: “As far as I know, I’m the first person from the UK to go to the clinic and I would love to come back with an improvement in my condition to show all the other people with Parkinson’s how they might benefit too.

“The NHS doesn’t support the treatment at this stage so we’ve had to raise the money.

“More than £700 has been raised by bottles on the bars at the Huntsman at Drax, and the Plough Inn and the Bay Horse at Fulford.

“Some relatives have helped out with donations and my mother Rosemary has taken the rest out of her pension, as my father is very ill.

“I was afraid my specialist would wash his hands of me if I did this but he’s said he won’t. He has said it’s up to me and arranged for me to come and see him after I return to Britain.”

The clinic has told James it has extensive experience in treating Parkinson’s.

It said in an email it had treated more than 100 patients with the disease in recent years, with improvements reported in 75 per cent of cases, including reduction of tremor and rigidity, and cognitive and gait improvements.

“Stem cell therapy results in stabilisation of the patient’s condition, subsidence of neurologic symptoms, which means better life quality for the patient,” the clinic said.

James, a former pupil of St Peter’s School, served in the Queen’s Own Yeomanry for a decade when he was young, becoming a corporal. He said he first fell ill a decade ago.

He is convinced the disease started after he breathed in creosote fumes from wood treated with the substance.

He will travel to Kiev, accompanied by his brother Simon, towards the end of the month.

His mother said her son’s determination to give the stem cell treatment a chance was typical of his character.

“He never gives up,” she said.


Assistant refused to serve James with beer

JAMES has told how a York filling station assistant refused to sell him beer – because she was convinced he had been drinking.

He said he went to the Inner Space Station in Hull Road just before Christmas to buy a couple of bottles of ale and went to the counter, where the assistant said she couldn’t serve him because he had had too much to drink.

“I showed her my Parkinson’s Disease Society card, which explains that the illness can make patients unsteady on their feet or have difficulty speaking, but she didn’t bother reading it and still wouldn’t serve me. I was fuming.

“I went back the next day to explain what had happened to another assistant and was told I could buy alcohol after all, but I didn’t receive any apology. I would like to raise awareness that Parkinson’s can cause symptoms similar to drunkenness.”

Graham Kennedy, managing director of Inner Space Station, said: “I want to offer our humble apologies. If he would like to get in contact we will do our best to make sure this will never happen again.

“My staff are very aware of the law of not serving people who are under the effects of alcohol and it’s obviously made them over- cautious.

“We will apologise in person if he would like to contact us.”