Picture the scene...one day you are living your life to the fullest. You are playing hide and seek with your grandkids, taking your daily 5km walk, sharing smiles and stories with the elderly at a long-term care facility, enjoying a beer at a local pub, sleeping in your big comfy bed.  Life is good! Then, out of the blue, your world is turned upside down

Lisa Pettigrew has been hospitalized since early August and her case has been described by her neurologists and neurosurgeons as a complete mystery.  Her ordeal started in mid-July when she was diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy (a weakness of the muscles on one side of her face).  Within a few days she was numb throughout the right side of her body.  She spent 5 days on the stroke ward at a hospital in Kitchener, Ontario, before a stroke was ruled out and she was sent home.  The numbness continued to spread throughout her legs and arms.  Lisa returned to the hospital a couple days later, only to be told she had a Vitamin B12 deficiency and again was sent home.  Within a week, she could only walk with the assistance of a walker and the numbness had spread to her hands. 
With the severity of symptoms, her case was finally taken seriously and she has been hospitalized ever since  (first in Kitchener, followed by Guelph, London and now in Cambridge).

After 12 MRI’s, 4 spinal taps, 2 biopsies, a PET scan and countless other tests, a diagnosis has not been found.  Lisa recently underwent a biopsy of the nerve root on her spine (a highly unusual surgery, the first time performed in the neurosurgeon’s extensive career). Even after this invasive and painful surgery, the doctors are completely stumped as to the cause of Lisa’s condition. 

Without a diagnosis, no further treatment is being offered and she will soon be transferred from hospital into long-term care.

We, her friends and family, are devastated by this possible outcome, and Lisa is terrified of living a life without her mobility.

But she is a fighter.  She always has been.  Her 6 beautiful grandchildren, all under the age of 5, had an energetic and vibrant 58-year old Grandma to play with. They can’t begin to understand how the Granny they adore has been taken from their daily lives.

We need your help.  Lisa is a good woman.  She worked on a dementia ward at a local long-term care facility before she was struck down.  She is known for her caring, empathetic and compassionate nature.  Lisa has always given back to her community and we hope you can help her in her time of need.  We are raising funds in support of her current and long-term care, to assist in efforts towards rehabilitation (without a diagnosis we are not giving up hope that she may one day walk again), and to continue searching for a diagnosis/treatment.

The fundraising efforts will serve three main purposes:
1)    Contribute towards her current and future care – Given that the affliction has spread into her legs, feet, arms and hands (with the exception of two semi-functioning fingers), an electric wheelchair with appropriate neck/spine support and tilting mechanism will be required (an estimated cost of $5,000-$6,000).  Long-term care facilities cost approximately $1,900-$2,500 per month, which over the long term may be astronomical for someone who is only 58 years old.

2)    Assist in efforts towards rehabilitation/recovery – Medical professionals have yet to give us a clear, evidence-based reason why Lisa will never walk again.  Without a diagnosis, we maintain hope that she will regain at least some level of functioning.  This is the hope that keeps her going every day.  Physiotherapy, equipment (e.g. foot drop brace, splints) and any other services will be required to ensure that her muscles do not atrophy and to boost the chances of a recovery.

3)    Attempt to find a diagnosis –
Prior to her nerve root biopsy on the spine, her neurosurgeon was scouring the literature trying to find a similar case.  Someone, somewhere has encountered this condition that has caused Lisa to inexplicably lose her mobility.  Though the hospitals have exhausted the tests available to them, we will continue to search for answers and a diagnosis.

All donations - big and small - will go a long way in helping us to get Lisa  back on her own 2 feet!!

We thank you in advance for your support
  • Jo Dwyer 
    • $20 
    • 48 mos
  • Deborah Wagler 
    • $25 
    • 55 mos
  • Angie 
    • $30 
    • 55 mos
  • Janice Harder 
    • $100 
    • 55 mos
  • Andrew Pettinger 
    • $200 
    • 56 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Sue Perry 
Guelph, ON
Lisa Pettigrew 

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