Emily Hewatt’s goal is to get her life back before she turns 25 – to start off, she plans to walk off a plane she had to enter in a wheelchair.
The Corryong woman’s life was ripped apart in 2012 when she contracted complex regional pain syndrome, a condition where the brain’s ‘pain switch’ is not turned off after a form of trauma.
Emily and her mother, Alison, set on a mission to access treatment in New Jersey and finally, the moment has come.
Emily said leading up to her flight on Wednesday, she had been overwhelmed by words of support.
“People dropped off rosary beads at the front of our house, and have given me a Mary MacKillop necklace, wishing to keep me well and safe,” she said.
The community has rallied behind the Hewatts, raising $40,000 for Emily – something she couldn’t quite get her head around.
“We couldn’t have done it without them, but not only that, they’ve given us so much support,” she said.
Calmare therapy is operated by New Jersey doctor Michael Cooney, who specialises in CRPS.
The treatment uses 16 algorithms of electrodes to send a ‘no-pain’ message to the brain over the course of 10 sessions, and many patients return to full capacity.
Emily hoped a positive outcome in her case would help bring the therapy to Australia.
“He has an 86 per cent rate and he’s had on average every three weeks someone with CRPS come from Australia since November last year,” she said.
“Plenty of people are asking me how we’re going getting it here, plenty of people are desperate for it.
“We know a lady who had her arm amputated because of CRPS and it could have helped her hugely.
“Let’s just get it here.”
The Hewatts are part of the Purple Bucket Foundation, established to support CRPS sufferers and to campaign the federal government to support calmare therapy.
Alison hoped the community would continue to support the cause.
“We have a charity trail ride two weeks after we get back,” she said.
“We’re hoping to have money left to try and register it with the Therapeutic Goods Administration.”
Alison said she was overwhelmed her daughter would have a chance to get back her life again.
“It progressing so quickly, we couldn’t come to terms with the fact someone so fit and healthy one day was in so much agony after a surgery,” she said.
“We just locked the door and cried … now we’re here, after such a long process.
“Although, I told her we’re coming back in a wheelchair so we can get through customs quicker.”