22-year-old Virginia woman wakes up paralyzed


Chris Oliver

A 22-year-old teacher from Virginia living in Southeast Asia was unable to move after waking up in her apartment on Dec. 22. Now, after being diagnosed with a rare and sudden illness, her family is working to fly her thousands of miles back home in the hopes that she soon makes a full recovery.

It wasn’t until a friend drove her to the hospital the morning of the 22nd that Caroline was officially diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a rare autoimmune disease in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the nerves, causing symptoms such as muscle weakness that eventually leads to paralysis.

It is estimated that about 80 percent can walk independently six months after diagnosis. About 60 percent fully recover motor strength one year after diagnosis. About 5 to 10 percent have very delayed and incomplete recovery.

Caroline wanted to move to Thailand in October to fulfill her goal of teaching students abroad. So far doctors have noticed slight improvement in her movement. Dr. Brander informed the news that “Caroline has been able to move her shoulder and feel a bit on tingling in her fingers in recent days.”

Close to 1,000 donors raise up 76,000 dollars in the last three days of her tragic incident. Caroline spoke out and said she started to experience weakness in her abdomen days before being paralyzed.

Senior Billy Lucas commented on the incident. He said, “Waking up and not being able to move would be really scar. That would be a huge bounce back in recovery.”