Back to page

Roland Matthews goes to Moscow for Multiple Sclerosis treatment - Updates - Givealittle

  • Rock’nMS Rollercoaster     9 September 2017
    Posted by: Roland Matthews
    Main image

    The MS coaster is not as much fun as the loop at Knott’s Berry Farm. Especially when crowds are sparse and loops can be seamlessly spun. I was looking at google images of knots berry farm and the rides have certainly upped in velocity. Gone is the loop, replaced with twisted steel super structures propelling pods of adrenaline about the farm. What the coaster skilfully does is spin your head. Are the cells doing their business or aimlessly playing bull-rush in the vessels.

    In my post infusion excitement I edited a video of me walking in Sumner. It was that video that gave me an appreciation of Arnie’s favourite drug. I know about the superhuman strength it imparts on one’s body. In error I forgot to get take-aways and went cold turkey upon return to New Zealand. In the turkey chill I slowly reverted back to my pre-Moscow condition. Bugger, I thought it was going to be soo easy. Nope. 25 years of destruction doesn’t resolve during a 4 week hiatus from reality.

    Then there is the famed roller coaster, where the brain’s ride begins. And the research on recovery starts. Am I one of the 30% that don’t positively respond? I don’t think so. Am I feeling historic damage or new activity? Probably historic. Is the fatigue MS damage or chemo aftermath? A bit of both? My MRI two weeks ago showed no activity, but there was none before I left for Moscow. So no news is good news or not news at all. Only the years will tell.

    Further research and reviews of other AHSCT recipient posts uncovered the following phrase. ‘Glacial’. And it is. Rome was not built in a day, neither was Christchurch or my body in the same period. And as of today the Christchurch cathedral will now be rebuilt in seven years after seven years of vacillation. Church (wants to finish off the quakes effort) vs. State (wants to rebuild the prosaic).

    EDSS is a method of quantifying disability in multiple sclerosis and monitoring changes in the level of disability over time. Relevant levels for me are below. So to measure my progress and set targets I have resorted to the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS). I have also unearthed through face book with other AHSCT recipients expectations of recovery that I am going to have to surpass.

    6.0 Requires a walking aid - cane, crutch, etc. - to walk about 100 metres with or without resting (medium term target).

    6.5 Requires two walking aids - pair of canes, crutches, etc. - to walk about 20 metres without resting (a walk in the park when fresh).

    7.0 Unable to walk beyond approximately five metres even with aid. Essentially restricted to wheelchair; though wheels self in standard wheelchair and transfers alone.

    Up and about in wheelchair some 12 hours a day (pre Moscow when tired).

    I departed for Moscow in high sixes. I am now below 6.5, but this depends on the time of day and level of previous activity. My functional range is frustratingly wide. Between 6.3 ish and seven. Yesterday I went pool walking, visited my lawyer twice and negotiated Auckland traffic with a final EDSS of comfortably 6.3 ish on return. After diner I pretty much collapsed on the couch.

    What I want to impress on people with MS is research AHSCT ASAP because the sooner the better if you make the choice to proceed. AHSCT is not for everybody. I was three years too late for an excellent recovery back toward a high level of well-being. Don’t purely follow the advice of one medical discipline, i.e. neurologists. Look wider. This was my regrettable mistake that has made the pit that I fell into much deeper. I had been researching AHSCT for many years but it was continually dismissed by the professionals I trusted. Ironically, 14 years ago I asked my neurologist at the time what causes MS and how can it be treated. My neurologist said ‘something unknown has gone wrong in the immune system so it is attacking yourself’. I ask how do you fix it? They said ‘wipe the immune system out and start again’. Fedorenko started offering treatment for MS using AHSCT 12 years ago.

    My physical activities are limited due to strength and fatigue. They include water walking and general walking. A morning start with light exercises helps begin the day. Walking is progressing slowly but surely. Yesterday I climbed the steps out of the pool a few times. This was encouraging and inspires me to go to the Pioneer Leisure Centre pool with the family. Much of this was attributed to a lower core temperature that assists nerve conduction.

    My brain is still clear but gets fatigued. Core bodily functions work well. So it is now a matter of patience, persistence and exercise to build strength and rebuild my reluctant nerves. Thank you to my family and friends for all of the rehabilitation support.

      2 comments  |  Login to leave a comment

  • Recovery is definitely on its way, I say yay and have a good day!     18 May 2017
    Posted by: Roland Matthews

    One of my biggest anxieties before going to Moscow was that I would be one of the 30% that did not respond to treatment. I am pleased to report gold stars on my report card if I marked it myself for what I would describe as a relatively smooth recovery. Mental functioning has taken big strides. My reality obscuring Brain Fog has been blown by the Nor-Wester out to the Pacific’s distant horizon by my battalion of never tiring stem cells. The physical changes are playing their best hand against their mental running mates with a splash of improved physical functioning. However the damage the nerves and muscles have sustained from 25 years of neurotic destruction is far more disinclined to repair. Even so on a good day I remove my magnetic shoes that stick me to the earth’s iron core and stride out with a smile. I liken recovery to a game of reverse MS, with every day tabling a card decorated with a small but perceivable improvement. As I lay in bed last night reading ‘Duck Stuck in the Muck’ to my daughter my thoughts of MS and Moscow were drifting out to the horizon along with the fog.

    My chemo experience was fairly bland after reading other AHSCT recipient experiences. Following is a Facebook conversation I had with Anja who was treated alongside me at Pirogov.

    27 April


    Hi Anja how are you feeling we are heading into the one month milestone for the treatment the chemo certainly wrecked me and I am looking forward to getting over that. Regarding the stem cells little improvements that I have to build with some gentle rehabilitation starting about now.


    Hi! I'm having some rough times, my body won't heal, it goes for the opposite I can hardly move my head today, cause the muscles are just wrecked! And have been struggling with severe pain in my right shoulder/arm since I came home...weird. Hoping and waiting for better times.

    Good to hear you are better.


    That sounds really unpleasant I have been doing research on chemo and yes it really wacks you. It does pass but may take a few months arggg.

    And then you’ll start to feel like a million bucks. It's 6:30 at night and I'm fairly wiped out. Fortunately no pain but limited rehab. Stay strong you'll get there.

    30th April


    I have more energy now, but still have a lot of pain, and my stomach and muscles are totally fucked up! But we are on the right path.

    12 May


    Hi Anja, I have just been reading a few posts. I am progressing slowly but surely. Am walking slowly a bit. Fatigue is not as bad. Still good days are followed by tried days. My immune system has bounced back and no more mask. How are you?


    Hello. So good to hear that you're progressing, very happy for you.

    I am slowly feeling better. I am tired, But because of the treatment I think, fatigue not so bad now. Less pain in my legs. Using less pain-killers then I used to. My grip is stronger, I can open the coffee-pot myself and my reaction is better.

    Still tough days in between, but I see (and feel) good progress. It's only been 1.5 months since we went home, so I am pleased.


    That is great news. It is surely a slow road to good health but we'll get there. Time for bed 💤

    Chat End

    In comparison to Anja’s my experience predominantly comprise of considerable sleeping for the first four weeks upon return. This has largely died away now being eight weeks post treatment.

    I am pleased to report that my immune system has fully recovered. This possibly relates to the reduce energy demands for its repair corresponding to less fatigue. I’m back to eating (nearly) anything and proceeding with caution when in enclosed public spaces. I will head to the pool for walking in five weeks.

    My biggest withdrawal was from steroids cold turkey. I now appreciate Arnie’s love for the drug. The feeling of a ‘super being’ that I also experienced as the riods surged through my veins. I did not fully appreciate their blissful support and their effect of the punishing chemo. I experienced that about a week after retuning and the roids went the way of the fog.

    My stash of largely limited in effective MS drugs has thinned down to a muscle relaxant and vitamins. Note vaccinations are not recommended including for flue (I fortunately never got flue anyway). I am going to trial a restart of Fampyra, the ‘walking drug’, which did work well for me before AHSCT. This is to aid rehabilitation.

    Last night concluded with Kapiti triple chocolate ice cream and an evening stroll about the house using my kindly loaned walker (courtesy of MS+PD Christchurch),

    Next posting will be a walk in the (car)park.

      0 comments  |  Login to leave a comment

  • 365 days, thank you givealittle     7 May 2017
    Posted by: Roland Matthews

    Thank you givealittle for providing me with the facility to raise funds to help pay for my trip to Moscow for stem cell treatment to ‘cure Multiple Sclerosis’. In addition to raising moneys givealittle indirectly provided me with the opportunity to record my surreal expedition and provide both a personal record and an opportunity to share the expedition with family, friends and donors. The 43 posts of my Moscow experience will remain on my page for all to read.

    And thank you for on request extending my page duration to 365 days. This extension will provide me with the ability to continue my expedition along the challenging trail of rehabilitation and share it with others; some of who I hope will take the same. As I begin this stage of the expedition I have arrived at the realisation it is going to be lengthy and in many cases arduous. It's not an expedition I look forward to. It will involve patience, tenacity and dedication. I look forward to the results of the rehabilitation and am determined that my expedition will arrive at the end of a rainbow. With this post we have now departed Episode 1 covering the stem cell treatment and then begin Episode 2 Rehabilitation.

    The agenda for Episode Two posts include:

    My post stem cell transplant recovery experiences and those of my Norwegian partners.

    My rehabilitation and the experiences other people who have had successful stem cell treatment. I am hoping my journey will be as successful as theirs.

    Posts will be interspersed with appropriate research. I will try to avoid the unsubstantiated research and anecdotal discoveries. The process of double blind placebo trial research has flaws and I tend move with scepticism on some trial reports. I’ll expand on that later.

    I have an exciting group of people who will be aiding me in my rehabilitation including my GP, physiotherapists and neuro-rehabilitation doctors.

    A letter to the government to present my experience of HSCT. The current government position is to ‘watch this space’. The current neurological medical position is that stem cell treatment is ‘not proven’, thus not endorsed. Meanwhile people are being irreversibly physically and mentally debilitated.

    Other posts will come to mind as I travel along the trail.

    I hope that everybody reading this post forwards it to their family and friends. I will be contacting relevant organisations with this invitation below. My experience has been that many people know someone with MS. In 2006 there where 2,896 people living in New Zealand with MS (Taylor B, Richardson A, Mason D, Willoughby E, et al, Prevalence of Multiple Sclerosis in New Zealand, Otago University, 2006) I have traveled a long journey with this disease and am nearing the end of the road. I would like to share it with others with the hope that some will be at the fork in the road of their journey to seriously consider taking the fork that leads to stem cell reinstatement. Stem cell treatment was unquestionably my last chance to avoid a finale of neurological devastation. The pitch of my decline over the final six months prior to treatment was swiftly steepening leading to free fall. I am certain I had only months to spare before I would have been very seriously limited in making any substantial recover or even qualify for the treatment. If these family and friends emailed would like to donate of $1 with their email address accompanying the donation that they can receive the post directly. It could be lifesaving.

    Episode One is being generously edited by Trish Gribben and Elspeth Sandys into an e-book. I look forward to sharing this book with my donors so that they can then it share with others.

    The sun has set below the Alps and the temperature has accordingly dropped, so it's goodnight from Christchurch.

      0 comments  |  Login to leave a comment

  • Thank You to the exceptional staff at Pirogov     24 April 2017
    Posted by: Roland Matthews
    Main image

    Now that my Moscow memories have migrated south I want to take this opportunity to thank the people who made them.

    Russia is an expansive country; some 9,000 kilometres wide its boarders encircling over 160 ethnic groups speaking some 100 languages (source Wikipedia of course). I met only a few. Sign language, four words and smiles were my best communication instruments. What was common in theme is that they all want the same thing, as do the Afghani's, Syrians and Brazilian homeless. Friendliness. My friendly taxi driver who transported me from the hospital to the airport succinctly communicated this with an out of the blue smile and impromptu big hug as I left the cab.

    So a BIG THANK YOU to all the staff at Pirogov.

    The Nurses and their tender care:









    Olga (photo)


    The cleaning nurses, who meticulously keep my room shiny:




    The medical staff who are leaders at the forefront of curing Multiple Sclerosis:

    Anastasia Panchenko

    Dr Nikolai Fadeev N.

    Dr Denis Fedorenko

    An English Nurse visiting a patient during my own stay said one word when entering the sterile anti-chamber, WOW. This amongst other observations highlights the exceptionally high level of care offered by Denis and his staff.

    Finally, again one more heartfelt thank you to all whose generosity made this treatment possible.

    So this ends episode one of Roland goes to Moscow for Multiple Sclerosis treatment.

      1 comment  |  Login to leave a comment

  • The stories of two remarkable reinstated people, Royce Brewer and Hilde     18 April 2017
    Posted by: Roland Matthews

    On Monday 17 April I had the pleasure of meeting Royce Brewer at home. I credit Royce with being the final and most important straw in me kicking off getting treatment. About 12 months ago Royce traveled to Moscow and was treated by Dr Denis Fedorenko. His results that were published in the Press can be read in the link below. Three month later I was on a plane to Moscow with the generous help my many donors.

    Royce was one of the first Kiwi’s treated. I talked with one other, Lisa from Hawera, before leaving who had had reinstatement just before Christmas. Two others are on their way with pages in givealittle. He mirrors my condition quite closely in duration and disability. Now at 47 he has had the disease since 21, for me 22 and now 48. He was not quite in a chair but a Wall Walker with balance and strength his principal problems. I preceded him by about a year in progression. He experienced rapid deterioration that coincided with the 2011 earthquakes. I did as well. This is very possibly/most likely a pure coincidence given our age and length of disease (we will probably never know).

    Like me he kept his MS quiet until five years prior to treatment. He didn’t want to be judged and risk losing friends. As with me the disability became too obvious and he had to confess. He worked as a landscape gardener until one year before leaving for Moscow, finally halting employment because he was working on his knees and tripping two to three times daily.

    His rehabilitation has primarily been returning to work. He is now working full-time which includes laying 10 inch block on the garden walls he is creating. Yoga is next on his agenda, as it will be on mine in a few months’ time. But I doubt I will be making garden walls, it is not in my skill set. A new addition to his rehab is developing two acres or rural land he recently purchased in Hororata. When he left after his visit at 12:30 p.m. he was off to cut fire wood. Since returning from Moscow he has surrounded himself with positivity and set goals to work towards. My planned rehabilitation program is considerably more intensive. I am starting from the outside lane and eager to return as quickly as possible to a substantial level of function.

    Below is a Facebook post from Emma who started treatment about five days before I left Pirogov. Her post following is quite remarkable.

    ‘The best stem cell sister party ever! Hilde (Norwegian) was walking again after arriving here paralysed. She couldn't speak, she could only see shadows. Coordination skills were very poor and she struggled to use her hands. She was sleeping all the time as her body was so fatigued.

    She was diagnosed at 16 years old. She is 25 and a half years old. Just days after her treatment here she has already started to recover. She can stand and walk, she can knit again! She can see and speak and she is awake again!

    She could not have this treatment in Norway because they only treat five people a year and they said she was not ill enough. Dr Fedorenko said if she had been left she would have been in a nursing home pretty fast!

    Hilde is a miracle. Dr F is a legend. This place is awesome. We are all so lucky to have had this life changing treatment and share this amazing experience together’.

    Good night from Christchurch

      0 comments  |  Login to leave a comment

  • Dedication to my extraordinary wife and Soul Mate “I Got You (I Feel Good)" (James Brown, 1965)     10 April 2017
    Posted by: Roland Matthews
    Main image

    For the past 25 years Andrea has stood steadfastly beside me as she promised in her wedding vowels. Our plan was play together and stays together. And it was working joyfully.

    Recently this became an impossibility with my (until now) unstoppable demise. Notwithstanding Andrea stood strong beside me forever formulating ways of continuing her pledge.

    During the last two years she has demonstrated incredible courage and strength as the substance of our dreams slowly drifted into an impalpable gloom. This loss of someone one most loved is unfathomable. During this time she stood committed to me and the challenges presented standing forever beside me.

    I am incredibly proud of how she stood against the many burdens and held our family together. Isabella reflects this in her tolerance of my limitations and loving care of me. She is a real treasure of a daughter. All three of us are excited about the future, fun and games; we can now look forward to sharing as a family.

    Andrea is an incredibly strong, bubbly Canadian. Smiles and laughs. Andrea is my Soulmate and I love her with all my heart. The demands of MS on family members are extraordinarily high. I thank her for standing by me and will try my utmost to diminish these difficulties as I heal so we can strive to resume the life we set out to achieve. So I hand you over to Mr Brown.

    "I Got You (I Feel Good)"

    Wo! I feel good, I knew that I would, now

    I feel good, I knew that I would, now

    So good, so good, I got you

    Wo! I feel nice, like sugar and spice

    I feel nice, like sugar and spice

    So nice, so nice, I got you

    [Sax, two licks to bridge]

    When I hold you in my arms

    I know that I can do no wrong

    and when I hold you in my arms

    My love won't do you no harm

    and I feel nice, like sugar and spice

    I feel nice, like sugar and spice

    So nice, so nice, I got you

    [Sax, two licks to bridge]

    When I hold you in my arms

    I know that I can't do no wrong

    and when I hold you in my arms

    My love can't do me no harm

    and I feel nice, like sugar and spice

    I feel nice, like sugar and spice

    So nice, so nice, well I got you

    Wo! I feel good, I knew that I would, now

    I feel good, I knew that I would

    So good, so good, 'cause I got you

    So good, so good, 'cause I got you

    So good, so good, 'cause I got you

    [Short pause, drum cue]

    Hey! Oh yeah-a...

      1 comment  |  Login to leave a comment

  • Touch down, Christchurch     6 April 2017
    Posted by: Roland Matthews
    Main image

    A long flight from Moscow with one and a half days in Singapore gave me very little rest but some always cherished time to reflect.

    I feel NEW. Purified within. Clarity of my mind. In this respect I can’t ever recall feeling better.

    Externally I am drained. That will pass over the next three months.

    I am awash with trepidations that my body will not make recovery of any substance. I am reluctant to read anything into any microscopic improvements because it was the nature of the disease that these would be fleeting and inevitably lost. I hold faith in my historic ability to recover, the assured words of Dr Denise Fedorenko, the hospital staff, family and all my friends. My focus is now regaining my new self centimetre by centimetre exchanging the millimetres that were lost daily from my old self. I will get there.

    Hello Christchurch

      1 comment  |  Login to leave a comment

  • Flown the Coup     2 April 2017
    Posted by: Roland Matthews
    Main image

    I am scared. My Pirogov's cuddly is well and truly gone. It has been washed and folded away in the linen cupboard. My Faux immune system prescriptions have expired. It is now my Stem Cells and thermometer left to serve and protect.

    I sit in the 777 at 40,000 ft. well above the contamination's rife below. This is comforting. I feel safe as long as I don’t ponder the contamination's above. Maybe there will be an electrical storm and the lightning will vaporise any pathogens that have covertly transcended and creeped aboard from the deep black.

    The swallows have been swooping and sweeping about the green of Signal Hill. I must ask them on my return what were their secrets to make their first fight so effortless? And keep swirling. I am sure they had apprehensions, but they seemed brave. Their life will no doubt be a song.

    Medically I am now well underway way in healing. The dysfunctional old was annihilated leaving only purity and reinstatement of the truly good. The next biological, physical and psychological stages have just begun. Daunting, touching overwhelming. It somewhat comes down to application and statistics. Where do is sit on the bell curve. Which way will I slide? To me statistics have a certain level of meaningless. I have never viewed myself well statistically.

    Somewhere packed in my jamboree of instructions is the rehabilitation programme. Eighteen months of FUN and GAMES. Activities my body is sorely missing. Activities it is yearning to recover. This sends me in corkscrews of angst. What will return to me, what will be lost from me forever? How strong are the positive powers sent forthwith and the sureness of all who have been involved in this journey that drives me. I think they are kryptonite.

    Leaving Moscow was in essence was an unaccompanied affair. Over the last 30 days an incredible group of people have shared with me a life transforming experience. This is something that I cannot share at this time.

    Good by Moscow

      0 comments  |  Login to leave a comment

  • Discharge from National Pirogov Medical Surgical Center     31 March 2017
    Posted by: Roland Matthews
    Main image

    At 15:00 Dr Denis Fedorenko MD, John, Lynda, Luke, Kate and I sat in his office at Pirogov. With Dennis’ sanction I officially discharged myself from the hospital.

    It was an exciting occasion but also one that opened up previously sealed can of apprehension. I felt I resemble a Swallow jumping nest for the first time. It really seemed quite simple. Jump, flap glide, and loop de looping gracefully about the garden. But the swallow did not have the added luggage clutched under its wing and the unlikely but serious consequences of crashing in diseased disarray. Fortunately for both the swallow and I there was a support crew ready to pick up any droppings. After watching the Swallow gracefully swoop about the garden my confidence returned.

    I took this opportunity to asked a few questions.

    Q. When was HSCT indented as a potential treatment for MS?

    A. 1992 when a patient with MS underwent HSCT for leukemia and their MS was cured.

    Q. What is your biggest frustration?

    A. The big frustration is lack of resources for treating other diseases, i.e. leukemia.

    Q. What are your high points?

    A. Working together as a team. Feed-back from, interactions with and successes in treating patients.

    Q. Where to from here for you

    A. Working on the new therapy that are being developed.

    So the next questions are where to from here for me? The primary instruction is quite simple. Don’t get sick.

    1. Rebuild damaged and lost neuron connections is by far the biggest and most difficult challenge.

    2. Recovery will start to peak at 12 to 18 months.

    3. Don’t push the body. There will be three weeks of fatigue to now endure.

    4. Increase efforts gently.

    5. It is important to take the special (horse sized) vitamins prescribed.

    6. Off shelf multi vitamin pills are strongly recommended.

    7. Where a mask in public places or near illness.

    8. Control body temp every evening. If it is 37.5 or higher go to your GP.

    9. Primarily well cleaned and cooked food is best. No raw fish or fast food.

    10. Minimal alcoholic drinks for three months.

    11. MRI scans and neurologist visit’s month six and 12.

    12. Vaccinations are recommended for travel to infectious area only.

    13. Water walking 2 months after treatment is very good. Public pools are okay.

    14. In addition to this there is quite an assortment of rehabilitation exercises to keep me busy staring a couple of weeks upon return.

    15. Love your dogs, they love you.

    With the debrief completed and abundant hugs shared between all of us we retired to the lounge for another party, held for the next group or recipients of their stem cells.

    These are joyful parties shared by other patients, family and friends of people who have been fortunate enough to receive this life reinstating experience. They are parties of smiles.

    We did not stay long for fear of getting tangled in the conversations of many nations, making a timely escape improbable. A sneaky exit, with photos on departure, was the ticket.The hotel and dinner where calling.

    That night resembled the first night in a foreign bed, in a foreign land, or maybe a Quality Inn. Fortunately Kate slept in the bed beside me as my guardian roomy. Now on my second night I am again am veteran and best go join my bed.

    Good night from Moscow

      0 comments  |  Login to leave a comment

  • Dawn Chorus     29 March 2017
    Posted by: Roland Matthews
    Main image


    I have just reluctantly yet joyously pulled myself from my Kermadec Trench of slumbers at 3.30 am to in excitement to selfishlessly post this noteworthy occasion.

    Three weeks ago at this same bat time I would have woken up with paralysis below my waist and a prickling urge to empty 100 ml of urine from my bladder. The race would be on. Using various masterful techniques I would to pull myself to the toilet, via wheelchair, and save the night from inconvenience. Although three times a night does burden inconvenience.

    The occasion to celebrate here with an early morning tipple is that I woke up with a full bladder, sat upright on the edge of the bed without much sway, and preceded to empty my full bladder into the plastic bottle well positioned beside my hospital bed.

    Something is working here.

    Good night Moscow

      0 comments  |  Login to leave a comment

  • I am Cured     28 March 2017
    Posted by: Roland Matthews
    Main image

    The silent metronome that has been tirelessly diminishing my being has finally been ceased. On 27 March 2017 it was formally terminated as the timekeeper of my existence. Since then my body has been charged with the opportunity to reinstate back towards my former pre-MS self. It is doing so with fervour.

    I write this with great trepidation. I am into a new world of mystery, exciting, yet powerfully daunting. MS is an insatiable disease, it takes, does not give back.

    What I sound out here is the awakening of my body’s reinstatement. My recovery has unashamedly started with the return of simple pleasures recently lost, so I write this in the utmost of confidence.

    In the last months simple activities had final surrendered to MS and discharged from my existence for all eternity. Drinking consecutive gulps of water, grinding pepper, climbing into my daughters bed for a good night read, then swinging into my bed for a cuddle with my wife.

    Tomorrow will dawn an exciting day of deliverance as bit by bit my losses are returned.

    Good night Moscow

      0 comments  |  Login to leave a comment

  • We Knocked that Bastard Off (Hillary)     26 March 2017
    Posted by: Roland Matthews
    Main image

    On 27 March 2017 three brave Norwegian women and one New Zealand man summited the medical pinnacle of Mt Everest. It was on that crisp Moscow morning that they successful reinstated their immune systems to a subsistence level such that it could draw in the unadulterated air from the peaks’ crystal clear blue without compromise of heath.

    For the medics reading the Post here are my results:

    Haemoglobin (Normal 120-160), Leukocytes (Normal 4-10), Platelets (Normal 150-400)

    16/3, D+1 Haemoglobin, 88, Leukocytes, 1.39, Platelets, 57, Chemotherapy

    17/3, D+2 Haemoglobin, 89, Leukocytes 0.37, Platelets, 67, Chemotherapy

    18/3, D+3 Haemoglobin, 82, Leukocytes 0.14, Platelets, 51, Chemotherapy

    19/3, D+4 Haemoglobin, 105, Leukocytes 0.1, Platelets, 44, Chemotherapy

    The point of immune system annihilation

    20/3, D+5 Haemoglobin, 92, Leukocytes 0.09, Platelets, 31, reinstatement

    21/3, D+6 Haemoglobin, 83, Leukocytes 0.80, Platelets, 23, reinstatement

    22/3, D+7 Haemoglobin, 99, Leukocytes 0.09, Platelets, 31, reinstatement

    23/3, D+8 Haemoglobin, 90, Leukocytes 0.21, Platelets, 36, reinstatement

    24/3, D+9 Haemoglobin, 85, Leukocytes 0.85, Platelets, 52, reinstatement

    25/3, D+10 Haemoglobin, 82, Leukocytes 3.02, Platelets, 75, reinstatement

    26/3, recovery rest day

    27/3 release from Isolation

    With worthless limbs from the climb that would not take the challenge of decent, the ice fields, crevices, water and rock falls, called for a celebratory day in bed to recover from the assent.

    The day was spent bundled in bed dreaming of what to be. To assist the decent cells were woven into silk wings to effortlessly glide between the fissures to the welcoming party waiting at the sanctuary of Pirogov.

    A new day had truly dawned. The greeting party, some of which had just descended themselves,clustered on the sofas sharing their thoughts and feelings. There was a continual feeling of disbelief that we were all there experiencing this life transforming experience. There was a feeling of unity between the providential few that have had this remarkable opportunity. It is such a deep transcend that only time will enable a compilation of this experience, if it is ever possible, or fully needs to be.

    Good night from Moscow

      0 comments  |  Login to leave a comment

  • Every Man Needs a Cave     25 March 2017
    Posted by: Roland Matthews
    Main image

    Hi hope you’ll all agree that for the sanity of society every man needs a Man Cave. It is a den for a man to enter into in an attempt to regain a resemblance of control of his life, which can give often give the impression it is unwinding inside him. It is his escape from reality and place to enter into his world of fantasy.

    It could be the traditional garage, full of toys (he who dies with the most wins) one wall adorned with a beer fridge plumbed with a fresh keg of Loaded Hog Wheat Beer.

    It could be darkened with army tents draped over the glass, oil painted in Khaki, sands and browns. A lone dart board at the end of the garage and score board beside. Stubbies in the corner to complement the home distilled Pear Brandy. A rarely used pool table to rest drinks with burn marks in the felt.

    It could be a 150 year old shearing barn, with slat floors to catch the sheep dropping, thinning bubbly glassed sash windows. The first building on the property to be rebuilt before it would have inevitably fallen down. Now, electrified, plumbed, white shinny and full of toys. Its man might win the local competition.

    Maybe it is a non-consented, corrugated iron and hardwood maze of the complete history of one man’s life. Full off marine treasures that could never be replaced, with an overzealous at best city council trying to rid the family of its legacy and the town’s history.

    Maybe it is an outhouse with a broken door and a view down Te Henga (Bethels Beach).

    It does not really matter what it is beyond a Man Cave.

    Whatever it is it deserves utmost respect.

    Traditionally no Women were allowed in the cave. There are many rules instilled at birth that needed to be followed. But in the new days as long as they observe the many rules they are generally tolerated on more often than not welcome.

    Man talk can get a bit monotonous, dull, drool, well-worn, mundane, wearisome, platitudinous, stupid, tedious, tiresome, drab, drudging, flat, plebeian, routine, stereotyped, insipid, interminable, irksome, repetitious, spiritless, unexciting, vapid, dreary, dry, dull, monotonous, stupid, tiresome, uninteresting, wearisome and many more. A woman’s touch can wholly liven nights up to tolerable if not more.

    My man cave was unplanned three months ago. It goes well far beyond the routine. I was bestowed with a brand new bedroom, dining room with fridge and microwave and a bathroom just big enough to crash the scoot in through the door (sorry National Pirogov Medical Surgical Center).

    It has a really convenient electronic bed. There is what I think is a 2017 Thunderbird are go ship above the door to obliterate any pathogenic invaders as a spider does in its web with any careless flies, not that there would be any in the sterile antechamber waiting for the door to open. It is copiously cleaned daily, including me.

    Women are most welcome and visit more than hourly. They have been breed of impeccable man cave character (ha ha ha) and mostly say very little but organise my day. A courteous dobroye utro (morning), dobroy nochis (night), pozhaluysta (please), Spasibo (thank you) brings out a smile that will crack any Siberian ice. But with some cracks in the ice widening conversations are flowing.

    My days in the cave are numbered. I won’t miss it, only the people and experience. The next cave man is at the door.

    Good night from Moscow.

      0 comments  |  Login to leave a comment

  • A day of reinstatement at Pirogov     23 March 2017
    Posted by: Roland Matthews
    Main image

    I heard rumour today that I am going to live, to dance another day. My pure stem cells have been doing an extraordinary reinstatement of my immune system. Like an army of ants flooding into every notch, cleared of the dysfunction that lay before, they eagerly take cosy residence.

    Phagocytes lying in ambush for Pathogens.

    Fortunately the numbers are in my favour. With the care and dedication of the team at National Pirogov Medical Surgical Center they stand no chance. Not that there were any with the extreme hygiene I am surrounded by.

    A typical day at Pirogov follows this pattern:

    1. 6:00 wake and lie feeling my body.

    2. 6:45 dream of the forth coming culinary delights. I won’t illuminate on them but let you paw over the menu in the photos.

    3. Temperature and blood pressure.

    4. 7:00 first surrogate immune system pills.

    5. 7:30 steroid infusion.

    6. 8:25 second surrogate immune system pills.

    7. 8:30 Breakfast of champions.

    8. A sponge bath with three cleaners and one nurse.

    1. A pink mouth wash that resembles a blend of rocket-ship menthol with rocket-ship sweet mint mixed with Wasabi to rasp my throat bare if and when it does trickle down the back. Subsequent to that event it claws its way back up tearing away the remnants of my oesophagus, lifting off my scalp, no doubt aiding the ensuing baldness. Take that Listerine. I have developed a method to minimise that risk of reflux. With floss it omits the need for a good tooth brush and I go to bed with a tasty dark chocolate (Lindt A Touch of Sea Salt tonight).

    2. A clear bottle market ‘strong’ for the body. The 80% proof Vodka based liquid flashes off my hot skin like zephyrs. It is definitely a grain sprit, not potatoes. I do not have the courage to taste it.

    3. A clear cleaner labelled ‘private’. This is a relatively benign solution. It has no odour and little taste, bar well-watered down dove soap. Due to the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation I have to apply it myself, so there must be a secret ingredient they are testing.

    9. Temperature and blood pressure.

    10. WhatsApp calls.

    11. Sleep.

    12. 10:30 Morning tea.

    13. Do stuff. Apparently New Zealand has not taken a break.

    14. 14:00 Lunch.

    15. Temperature and blood pressure.

    16. 17:30 Pre dinner pills (not the drink).

    17. 18:00 Dinner accompanied by dinner pills.

    18. 19:30 retire and listen to Spotify via a Sony SRS-XB2 speaker (that decants a variety of music throughout the day), reply to WhatsApp and Facebook from my instrumental New Zealand troupe of supporters and my new found Norwegian friends in isolated stem cell reinstatement rooms in the next doors. They are doing well. We are planning a sofa party on release.

    My phone switches into Do Not Disturb at 11:00 and out comes the Kindle till sleep takes me away.

    During all of this day I am regularly attended upon by Doctors, Nurse, Cleaners, Feeder and checkeruppers silently passing through the darkened room throughout the night.

    Good night from Moscow

      0 comments  |  Login to leave a comment

  • Music to our ears     21 March 2017
    Posted by: Roland Matthews
    Main image

    n Sunday morning, March 2017, I was told that my immune system was officially vanquished. My lymphocyte level was less than 0.01 cell/ml. My normal range of lymphocytes should be between 1300 and 4000 cells/ml. My survival is now in a crystal clean green house planted firmly with a handful of pills.

    By now the hoods have been policed out from the nook and crannies of the old, to make space in the new for the reintroduction of virgin cells. These have never had a chance to enter into the mainstream corruption and mayhem that has ensued over the days, weeks, month and years of the war.

    Mine was an immune system in disarray. The challenges it faced filled it with wanton self-destruction to the inescapable end. It was relentlessly marching on without rest, taking little by little, bit by bit, mm by mm.

    The new represents such purity, a glazing of ice on a crystal clear mountain tarn. The slightest disturbance will fracture it to below.

    It is now is the time to be ultra-careful. No bull rush in the school playground, no bloody noses or stubbed toes.

    With 15 days of exhausting preparation the next five days will be my easiest, and I am looking forward to them. Waited on hand and foot by the many lovely nurses at Pirogov, checking on the half hour to bring infusions, jabs, change bedding (new sheets daily) measure vital signs. Blood Pressure 110/70 Pulse 63, Temperature 69 Degrees Celsius, listening to Spotify, endless free phone conversations and photos courtesy of WhatsApp, food with the daily drift of true Moscow goodies being smuggled in to my room by Luke and the lovely Rosa, via Uber, doctors, nurses and a microwave. I am well feed and need to be with the rebuild back on.

    These five days is the start of my new. It is the beginning of my organic recovery. It is now time for the virgin blood to do the intercourse. No drugs allowed, just relaxing and supporting infusions.

    With the abundance of checks, test and additives I am a picture of health. I have nearly packed my plethora of drugs that only ever keeping me functional. However there may be a small quiver of faze out pills to prevent cold turkey.

    Bedtime call has been called.

      1 comment  |  Login to leave a comment

  • Half-Life     19 March 2017
    Posted by: Roland Matthews
    Main image

    They say that longevity resides in your genes. My Grandfather Sir Russell Matthews died peacefully at 92 from pneumonia that he could have survived. After a long and successful life it was time.

    What is bringing me to tears at 48 is that I have what I feel is the opportunity of a new life.

    Photo Sir Russell and lady Matthews

      0 comments  |  Login to leave a comment

  • INTERMISSION     17 March 2017
    Posted by: Roland Matthews
    Main image


      0 comments  |  Login to leave a comment

  • Transfusion     16 March 2017
    Posted by: Roland Matthews
    Main image

    This was the most intensive experience I have ever had. It resembled a new technology Hyper-sonic Ram Jet directed at and placed mm’s from my heart. Then let loose like a cannon mastered by Commander Nikolai Fadeev N. at ground control.

    The Ram Jet thundered across my chest into my arms and down my torso. There was no stopping the infusion from there until all 200,000,000 crew safely were returned home. At this point Fadeev requested feedback so he could more comfortably administer the charge.

    R. Pain across my chest

    F. More pain killer

    R. Feeling nauseous

    F. More anti-nausea

    R. Oxygen mask need more air

    N. Adjust flow

    There was no respite as Fadeev loaded more charge. I thought my chest was going to explode. Shredded at the seams. Limbs blown into outer space. We pulled up at the edges of inner space for a brief respite as fuel was brought forward to the cathedra. At that point I realised I was not going to die and settled down for the ride.

    It was a smooth touch-down. Vital signs were confirmed as okay and the pad cleared of infusion equipment. The next three hours I lay in bed trying to ascertain (unsuccessful) what had happened.

    The after-party was a quieter affair with Michael not making it due to a rough ride.

      0 comments  |  Login to leave a comment

  • Bring in the New     15 March 2017
    Posted by: Roland Matthews
    Main image

    The last 15 days at the National Pirogov Medical Surgical Center have been an exhaustive preparation for the capstone. It started with a warm hand shake culminating with four days of chilling Chemotherapy.

    In the final hours of life as we know it I would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to Karin, Anya, and Kari Anne. Without AHSCT there is an approximately 90% chance they would eventually developed SPMS. This offers a very real possibility of eventually being morphed in to a motionless form, with no lights on and nobody home. At the last unofficial count over 160 people from Norway could have experienced this but opted out with taking AHSCT treatment in Russia and Mexico.

    These four brave Norwegian women are undertaking what is critical if their future existence is going to stand strong. And with this they all want to spread the word and knowledge.

    I introduce:

    Karin is excited about tomorrow. The day is unexplained at the moment. It is still a wait and see surprise. For her tomorrow is a new birth, new life, new beginning. It could be intense. The chemo was okay. She realises that she will need to be patient in the long long run, expecting ups and down.

    Anya is scared and trying not to think about it. She hopes she doesn’t faint. Anya is feeling good and is having her first meal tonight, a chocolate croissant. She experienced horrible chemotherapy being bed ridden 24 hours straight. Anya is feeling very safe with staff right outside her door being very attentive.

    For Kari Anne infusion is strange day to think about. She hopes that something can be promptly felt, returning in a good way. I am afraid of hyping up possible effects but don’t want to be too nonchalant. Some have reported brain fog lifting rapidly.

    With having MS for 25 years I am sick of it. I want my life back, for myself, my loving and devoted wife, my wonderful daughter and family. I want to resurrect the many fantastic times I have had with my closer friends, to rekindle the myriad of my other friendships that have never been lost, and make new friends. Karin, Anya and Kari Anne. One day I may have the pleasure of hosting their families in New Zealand.

    Tomorrow is the resurrection of our immune systems.

    I am excited. I can’t wait. The unknown challenges that lay ahead fill me with a feeling of drive to rise from a disease that no matter what battle actions were taken relentlesly kept winning the war.

    In less than 12 hours in and a space of about 4 minutes approximately 120,000,000 stem cells will be re inject back home from where they came from.

    We all will have been resurrected to begin our new lives.

    May the force be with us

      0 comments  |  Login to leave a comment

  • No turning back now     11 March 2017
    Posted by: Roland Matthews
    Main image

    My immune system is now under a shattering attack from a solution ‘created to destroy’.

    I have past the point of no return, no looking back or second thoughts. Right now there are not many thoughts.

    I am a bit stunned by the events of the past month of planning, traveling and preparing to get to the transfusion stage of the AHSCT. The fun and games are ending and now for the hard work.

      0 comments  |  Login to leave a comment

  • Galliano Hot Shots     11 March 2017
    Posted by: Roland Matthews
    Main image

    The short post goes out to all of my ski team buddies. I was scooting with the Moscow team looking for a restaurant for lunch in Pervomaiskaya. We happened upon a very agreeable Japanese Thai restaurant. The menu was wide-ranging and low and behold included the Galliano Hot Shot. I proceed to down a shot in my US Ski Team hat and sponsor Bolle T shirt. Take a look at an early black and white photo of Damien and me in our team uniform.

    How random is that?

      0 comments  |  Login to leave a comment

  • 120,000,000 + stem cells readying for infusion      9 March 2017
    Posted by: Roland Matthews
    Main image

    It’s great news. This Moscow spring has reaped a successful harvest of over 120,000,000 stem cells. They were gathered using a US designed and made combined harvester centrifuge that spun out the stems cell into a collection bag. For 10 hours it whirred and clicked dripping cells into the bag.

    The harvest is now being prepared for infusion consisting of the following steps.

    1. Freeze the harvests to -200 degrees celcius after testing the concentration of the extraction.

    2. Combined the harvests.

    3. De-thaw the combined harvests.

    4. Infuse back into my body within 10 minutes of de-thawing.

    Yesterday Tonia, Val and I had another party with new stem cell recipients. The party was to celebrate the beginning of a new disease free life.

    In Tonia’s words:

    It filled me with joy that there could be so much compassion, love and togetherness.

    In Val’s words (Tonia’s Rangiora ex-pat great friend):

    I was profoundly moved and humbled by the experience. Dennis touched me deeply bring a feeling of oneness and support within the group and the collective power of healing.

    As a nurse left the party she said to me “I have been here 10 years. In six months you will dance”

      0 comments  |  Login to leave a comment

  • Please share my givealittle with others, thanks      9 March 2017
    Posted by: Roland Matthews
    Main image

    I have been posting on the givealittle site both to record for myself a diary of this exceptional experience and also share them with my family, friends and donors.

    I also would like to send the posts to if others so they could get an insight into my Moscow experience and the Mt Everest of medical technology. Therefore I ask if you could send my page to your family, friend and associates that I have not been able to reach for them to register on the page. It will require a donation, i.e. $10. By recording their email address they will receive the posts and hopefully so enjoyment reviewing them.

    The page can be found at:

    or goggle it:

    roland ms moscow

    There are currently two people with pages planning for trips to Moscow for the same treatment (Fray Braddock and Paula Davis). I have donated to them both and offered assistance with their trip. I look forward to being able to do so and hear about their experiences.

      0 comments  |  Login to leave a comment

  • The Novelty is wearing off     6 March 2017
    Posted by: Roland Matthews
    Main image

    It is all becoming a bit of a pain in the neck. Ha ha ha ...

      0 comments  |  Login to leave a comment

  • Wow. 120,000,000 stem cell harvest starting today     6 March 2017
    Posted by: Roland Matthews
    Main image

    I am feeling good. I am ready.

      0 comments  |  Login to leave a comment

  • Finally treatment commences,3 March 2017     3 March 2017
    Posted by: Roland Matthews
    Main image

    First, thank you for all of the support. As Dr Fedorenko said 50% of healing is the cells, the other 50% is the mind. Your support is a crucial component for building a strong mental set to tackle the next four months of recovery ahead. It won’t be quick and to what level of my former self will be realised is unknown. What is known is with your support and my determination allot will be achieved.

    My biggest anxiety was that I would complete the myriad of test at Pirogov National Medical Surgical Center only to be told I was not suitable for Autologous Hematopoietic Stem Cell Treatment (AHSCT). Two months of planning, sleepless nights and mounting apprehension/anticipation would vaporise into the crisp Moscow air. Fortunately this did not happen. I arrived just in the nick of time biologically being quite healthy and just mobile enough to justify treatment.

    The program is quite involved comprising of the following steps:

    1. Stem cell stimulation, four to five days.

    2. Insertion of a special central venous catheter in my jugular for cell collection.

    3. Stem cell collection, two to three days.

    4. Insertion of a new catheter for chemotherapy and further treatment.

    5. Baabom, chemotherapy, four days.

    6. Stem cell re infusion.

    7. Isolation period for up to 10 days in a special room with nothing but a microwave and electronic goodies for me to keep in contact with the wider world.

    8. Recovery…..

    More next post.

      0 comments  |  Login to leave a comment

  • A can of brown     3 March 2017
    Posted by: Roland Matthews
    Main image

    None of us are quite sure what it is. It is smoothly textured and runny enough for a blob to splotch on my pants and shirt when the industrial tear top can enthusiastically popped its lid. Tonia though it might have contained fish.

      0 comments  |  Login to leave a comment

  • Alice's restaurant     2 March 2017
    Posted by: Roland Matthews

    Cut and paste me.

      0 comments  |  Login to leave a comment

  • Alice's restaurant     2 March 2017
    Posted by: Roland Matthews
    Main image

    There is a movement growing. I am a party to it and just waiting my turn. It will come in about 5 days. So far five donors have joined.

    Matt, the instigator.

    Steve, with Matt the partner in crime.

    Louise, was going to shave for another caused but changed his mind.

    Julian, said no, no, no, nooo, okay.

    James, out of the blue dropped in riding the wave.

    I have an idea!

    The challenge is to join these brave champion supporters and shave your head (less psychologically damaging than Movember).

    Please send a photo and I’ll share it in the gallery.

    To the many observers a small appreciative donation for that head will continue the relentless climb to the summit. Send it to all of your friends as well to prompt a small donation.

    You know, if one person, just one person, does it, they may think he's really sick and they won't take him.

    And if two people do it, in harmony, they may think they're both faggots and they won't take either of them.

    And if three people do it! Can you imagine three people walkin' in, singin'

    A bar of "Alice's Restaurant" and w We are there!

    And can you imagine fifty people a day? I said FIFTY people a day . . . Walkin' in, singin' a bar of "Alice's Restaurant" and walkin' out? friends, they may think it's a MOVEMENT, and that's what it is: THE ALICE'S RESTAURANT ANTI-MASSACREE MOVEMENT! . . . and all you gotta do to join is to shave your head or donate.

    Cut and paste this link for more of an insight

      0 comments  |  Login to leave a comment

  • Moscow Day One     2 March 2017
    Posted by: Roland Matthews
    Main image

    Nikolai drove Tonia and myself straight from the airport to the hospital where we meet delightful Dr Dennis Fedorenko and lovely Anastasia.

    The first of many tests was an ECG. That completed the day regarding suitability for HSCT. I was fortunate to say happy birthday to one of the patients and congratulate a further five on receiving their cells. This is celebrated by spreading dry ice about the floor.

    It took moment for this realisation for come forward, but everybody was happy, chatting and smiling.

    The second day has been one of tests including an ultrasound of my legs. I have to follow up why? for this scan. It was complemented with, more ultrasound, MRI scan and bloods. The day was spent warming up for isolation with hardly a word spoken to me by any hospital staff, feeling a bit like an excommunication. Four meals a day were placed in the room by a mirage. The menu is becoming apparent. Porridge, egg, bread, tea, fruit X 1, unsweetened yogurt, barley rice stew, veggies, (chopped, mixed and boiled) meat pie on some nights, a can of brown and cheese cake (I think). See photo.

    2 March I have completed a lung function test and am waiting for results. Fingers crossed.

      0 comments  |  Login to leave a comment

  • Moscow one step away     28 February 2017
    Posted by: Roland Matthews
    Main image

    Tonia and I are in the Singapore Airlines lounge preparing with a French red to board the 13 hour flight to Moscow. The last four days have been flat out with the final never ending list of bits wanting completion before our departure. The list including blogs was never satisfied. What was underway on the final hours before commencing the withdrawal from reality was Isabella's sixth birthday. Thirteen sugar fueled children rampaging about the house on another cloud cloaked day. No chance for a restful few days prior to departure to enable charging of the system before arriving in Moscow. So I have jumped on this opportunity during a 12 hour layover to say a few thoughts. But unfortunately my mind is failing to cooperate. So I’ll leave it here.

      0 comments  |  Login to leave a comment

  • Birthday House Warming Going away     23 February 2017
    Posted by: Roland Matthews
    Main image

    Christchurch clouds socked in our house obscuring the shimmering view over the city, with only a few cloaked pine trees disfiguring the fog. But that really didn’t matter.

    It was a engaging late afternoon stretching through to the early morning. A great group of wayback friends and new-fangled locals especially selected from Christchurch, Auckland, West Coast, Wellington and New Plymouth, joining together say Happy Birthday, lovely house and Счастливого пути ! (Sčastlivogo puti!) The celebration’s pinnacle was the fellow shaving of four sculls to galvanise me on my way (my turn will has been booked). So Moscow Here I Come!

    Thank you Andrea for throwing the party, and Tonia and Lynda for the superb food. A big thank you to Chris for sticking the celler. Thank you everybody for coming and having a memorable time and Claudia for shaving Matt..

      0 comments  |  Login to leave a comment

  • Earthquake Vs givealittle     23 February 2017
    Posted by: Roland Matthews
    Main image

    It started with a low rumble on February 22, 2011. This was almost instantaneously followed by a violent shaking and we all know what happened next. After-shocks, and more than 10,000 of them. I thought myself as being fairly robust to the relentless pounding of my nervous system during the ensuing months. But in retrospect I was highly strung out. It was entertaining at first guessing how big and where the shock was. At first the size was considerable and frequency resembling un-rhythmical percussion. The size and frequency slowly abated but periodically a nerve strainer hit and energised the nerves. Six years on my nerves have settled and my thoughts flow out to Kaikoura and northwards for the distress being incurred there.

    It started with a misfire with the givealittle page going live two days early. Never mind. Almost instantaneously a low rumble of donations ensued. This gave the nerves a tickle. Then the flood gates opened with a cascade of bings lighting up the notification on my cell phone. I never sleep with my phone so mornings were filled with excitement to see what donations were received. They were many and varied. The after donations, more than 130, continued to bring continued pleasure and abundant feelings of appreciation towards both known and guest donors. And they are still being received with one this evening while typing this post. Thank you Emily, it is never too late. It will, typical of all good things, come to an end. However I don’t think my nerves will ever fully recover from such a fantastic experience. Thank you to everybody involve in creating this fabulous givealittle experience.

      0 comments  |  Login to leave a comment

  • Round One has been won     21 February 2017
    Posted by: Roland Matthews
    Main image

    Getting a pass to Moscow was reported as being a battle. It was, being a drawn out foray into foreign territory, abound with booby-traps and trip wires. Yet determination and help from friendlies, both domestic and international, after a four week skirmish saw Visas delivered 5 days prior to departure. Moscow I am on my way.

      0 comments  |  Login to leave a comment

  • Countdown starts     17 February 2017
    Posted by: Roland Matthews
    Main image

    The count down is on. 10 days before departure.

    It has been a huge combined organisational effort by Andrea, Tonia, and Lynda. Without their assistance I would be stuck at the airport with no flight, visa or place to go.

    A big thanks to Jason Law for the post this week. I look forward to many more to keep me connected with the wider world beyond the glass of isolation.

      1 comment  |  Login to leave a comment

  • Sinking in     12 February 2017
    Posted by: Roland Matthews
    Main image

    As the journey gets closer it is starting to sink in. I think it is best not to think to deeply. I don't want to sink too far.

    Being a surfer from way back, treading water, holding my breath and swimming from the rocky Taranaki sea floor to the bubbly surface by way of following my 8 ft leg rope to the board floating above just as the next monster landed on me was never a concern of mine. It was quite exhilarating.

    My biggest challenge at the moment is a good nights sleep.

      1 comment  |  Login to leave a comment

  • A big thanks NZ Herald     31 January 2017
    Posted by: Roland Matthews

    I was wondering why I go a flurry of donations this morning. NZ Herald. Great!. Cut and paste this into the browser.

      1 comment  |  Login to leave a comment

  • humbling     27 January 2017
    Posted by: Roland Matthews

    Wow, this has been the most humbling experience I could ever imagine. I thank everybody from the bottom of my heart.

    Thanks to all of the oldest of finds that I am rarely in contact with but fond memories never die. And of course thanks to my more recent friends who have made it a special journey as well.

    BRRR Russia here I come.

    XO R

      0 comments  |  Login to leave a comment

  • 4 ft of fresh un-tracked power     24 January 2017
    Posted by: Roland Matthews
    Main image

    Just because I did. Blackcomb.

      0 comments  |  Login to leave a comment

  • Canadian donors     24 January 2017
    Posted by: Roland Matthews
    Main image

    Thank you to all of Andrea's and my Canadian friends that have donate. It brings back great memories. Andrea has done a fantastic job promoting the request. In the photo apres ski Blackcomb Mountain, Glen Mittendorffer, Sarah Gordon (sister in law), Mark McDonnell, me, Sarah Spencer, Andrea and Damien Matthews (bro). If anybody knows the whereabouts of Glen and Mark say hi from me.

      0 comments  |  Login to leave a comment

  • The Begining     21 January 2017
    Posted by: Roland Matthews
    Main image

    What a great start to going to Moscow. Thank for the messages of support and donations that have given me confidence...

      0 comments  |  Login to leave a comment