Hao Xiang’s life couldn’t have changed more since he was diagnosed with MS. An aspiring student, he has had to drop out of high school, and the cost of his treatment is an ongoing worry for his family. The online community has provided support, but Hao struggles to find a way to cope with MS.
“I was a very good student but because the high school was unable to make modifications to accommodate me – to address my mobility problems – I had to drop out. Because of a relapse, I had to go on a course of interferon, and this is when I gave up my education. I enrolled in an inferior technical college. In China, this means that I have given up on my future.
“The first sign was poor leg coordination. I got medical attention straight away and was diagnosed after seven days.
“I am young, 18 years old. MS is having a huge impact on my present and future possibilities for studying and for life in general. My dreams for a beautiful life have all been shattered.
“It is easy to have relapses, and I don’t trust local medical treatment. I’m getting treatment at the hospital, and the medicine is having some effect, but it hasn’t stopped the progress of the disease. My ability to coordinate my legs and arms has deteriorated.
“Since I live in Hebei province, I don’t have any choice about the medicine I take. And you can only access different therapies – like physiotherapy, occupational therapy – in the big cities. Even if they were available, I would have to pay a lot for them. I feel envious for health care systems in other countries.”