Friends in Maple Ridge are trying to help Dale Worden.

Maple Ridge friends helping Australian mate with back disease

Raised more than $8,000 to help with treatments.

Friends of former Maple Ridge resident Dale Worden raised more than $8,000 on the weekend to help him with health care costs associated with a degenerative disc disease.

Worden attended Fairview elementary and Maple Ridge secondary, and was active in community and school sports. He spent some time doing martial arts and liked to always stay fit, working out at a local gym.

He moved to Australia in 1998 in search of adventure. He has since built a life their with his wife and two children.

Worden is now suffering from degenerative disc disease, which is debilitating, painful and dramatically affects his daily life.

However, the Australian health care system does not cover the majority of expenses related to the diagnosis, treatment and medications.

Worden has been struggling to explore all forms of treatment for this affliction, according to friends.

But due to the high cost of consultations, medications and treatment, “relief is not easily obtained, and seems a long way off.”

Worden was informed by a neurologist that his options are limited and any medical procedure, subsequent medications and therapy would cost $50,000.

The first option is fusing of his lower spine, which involves the invasive and risky insertion of steel rods in the spinal column adjacent to the most affected area.

The second is unproven – stem cell injections into his spine in the hope of regeneration.

The last option is prescription pain medications, which would not treat the disease.

Worden has lost the feeling in his right leg and is experiencing lower intestinal problems due to nerve issues.

The $50,000 costs do not take into account that he cannot work during treatment, and recovery estimated at six to eight months, creating financial pressure.

The money raised on the weekend will help Worden fund the best short-term pain therapy options and long-term non-surgical or surgical treatment.

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