(CBS) — One West Chicago family made an 8,000 mile journey to India so six siblings, diagnosed with Lyme disease could get stem cell treatments they couldn’t get here in the U.S.
CBS 2’s Audrina Bigos shares the Sweeney family’s journey.
On Youtube, the six brothers and sisters, ages 9 to 19, documented their eight-week journey in a hospital in New Dehli, India.
Their parents, Jim and Wendy, call it their last ditch effort, their only hope after nine years of searching for answers, after seeing endless amounts of doctors who couldn’t treat Lyme disease.
“Three of them had sudden onset hearing loss,” Wendy Sweeney said. “They had malabsorption syndrome, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, they had parasites.”
“I know people always say, ‘how can six kids have Lyme disease?’” Jim Sweeney said. “I don’t know.”
Four of the six kids had to be taken out of school because of crippled immune systems. Two of them couldn’t leave the house. But then, an opportunity to get their lives back from a doctor in India.
“Were we skeptical? Yeah!” Jim said. “I was definitely skeptical to the point I said let’s just take the three sickest because we’re risking everything. If this doesn’t work, we’re going to come home and lose our house.”
They Sweeneys got home two weeks ago more in debt, but healthier and happier.
“In India, they gave me my life back,” Dylan said. “It was like I had been born again.”
Stem cell treatments for many different ailments are being studied in the United States, but many experts here regard them as controversial and still unproven.
We found no registered studies currently underway in the U.S. for stem cells and Lyme disease.