A BURY police officer who suffered a devastating brain haemorrhage and stroke three years ago is trying to raise £15,000 to pay for groundbreaking stem cell treatment in America.
Gulf War veteran Joseph Duffy, aged 46, hopes that the procedure in Arizona will radically improve his mobility and help tackle a rare vascular disease which may have been responsible for his illness.
His wife Wendy, friends and relatives, are planning a series of fundraising events while the Bury-based police constable has launched his own online YouGiving page to help him reach his target.
The father-of-three joined the Army in 1986 and served in West Germany and Canada as well as in the Gulf War. He joined Greater Manchester Police in 2000.
Mr Duffy suffered a suspected heart attack in March, 2011, and a brain haemorrhage and stroke just two months later. He spent six weeks in hospital.
Mrs Duffy, aged 42, said: “Joseph has severe left side weakness, struggles to walk and has been left with epilepsy. His speech gets a bit slurred when he’s tired. He walks with a stick as well as a muscle stimulator, a cuff around his leg which he uses with a remote control to help his movement.
“Joseph also suffers from Churgh Strauss syndrome, a rare vascular disease which attacks various parts of his body and which could have been responsible for the brain haemorrhage and stroke.”
Mrs Duffy explained: “We hope the treatment can be done this year. It involves liposuction and taking stem cells from the fat and putting them back into the body, to areas that have been damaged, to help repair them and to make new pathways for movement and connection.
“If it’s successful, then Joseph should be able to walk without his stick and muscular stimulator and be able to do functional things. We’re hoping it will help with the Churgh Strauss syndrome.”
Mr Duffy said: “After checking out the internet and speaking with friends, I saw treatments offered in America for stem cell replacements.
“I’m looking at doing the Manchester 10k in 2015 alongside Wendy, who is my rock, to raise cash for the Stroke Association.”
His wife and two relatives will also be taking part in a five-mile marine course challenge in Leeds next month to raise money. Other fundraising activities are also planned.