"Imagine, if you will- waking up tomorrow without the use of your legs. Imagine that you turn your alarm clock off with a grumble, flip the covers off in aggravation, and move to slide off the bed but…nothing happens. Sound terrifying? Of course! Now imagine that same scenario, only it’s happening slowly. Every day you have less and less use of your legs until one day, you can’t get off the chair. Imagine feeling your body giving up on you and not understanding why. Imagine watching your world change, your thoughts of the future disappear. Heart-wrenching. Imagine waking up to your spouse, your partner, your friend-debilitated, frightened, trapped. Imagine watching them for days in concern, full of worry, not sure what is plaguing them, not understanding why they can’t walk, or move, or eat. For many of us, we can’t even imagine this scenario. It’s the things of our worst nightmares. Who just wakes up paralyzed? For our dear friends Dave and June Cormack, this is reality. Dave went from your average healthy man to a person who couldn’t even feed himself in less than two weeks’ time. Dave was struck by the rare disease known as Guillain-Barré (Ghee-yan Bah-ray) Syndrome (GBS) .
Allow me to take the person out of the situation for a moment and explain to you what exactly we’re dealing with! (GBS) is a rapid-onset muscle weakness caused by the immune system damaging the peripheral nervous system. The symptoms develop over hours to a few weeks. In layman’s terms, that means his immune system, instead of protecting him, was attacking his nervous system! That’s insane, and it’s terrifying. The cause is unknown. The immune system decided the nervous system looked like a virus. The underlying mechanism involves an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the peripheral nerves and damages their myelin insulation. In those with severe weakness, prompt treatment with intravenous immunoglobulins or plasmapheresis, together with supportive care, will lead to good recovery in the majority. Recovery can take weeks to years. About a third of people whom recover will still have some permanent weakness. Globally, death occurs in about 7.5% of those affected. Guillain-Barré Syndrome is rare, at one or two cases per 100,000 people every year.
Now, let’s bring the person back to the disease and talk about what this means for him. His prognosis is hopeful but cautious. He is in the very beginning of stages of what will most likely prove to be a long and trying journey. Each day brings new challenges, new goals, and new struggles. He may meet a milestone today and miss it tomorrow. His return to work is unknown. Since he is insured, his plan will cover a lot of the medical expenses, which takes a load off the family, but in situations such as these, medical expenses are truly the tip of a much larger iceberg. If you’ve ever missed a week of work for the flu, or had an emergency surgery, then you know and can appreciate how much just a few days can turn the tide for your family and your livelihood. For this family, the loss of his income, despite their best efforts, is not going unnoticed. His wife, June, works full time, and is also taking care of their daughter Catherine. There is truly not a woman in the world that is more selfless and willing to give her time, her money, or her help to anyone who needs it. Currently, SHE needs it. THEY need it. A lot is being asked of her during this time, a lot of stress in on her plate. In addition to being a full time parent, and providing the family’s only income, she is also struggling exhaustion from going back and forth to the hospital and rehab facility. This is taking a serious toll on her own health. She will be required to miss many days of work to help care for Dave and to take care of his affairs so that his focus may be on healing. FMLA will thankfully protect both for the loss in their jobs, but FMLA will NOT pay their bills, put food on their table, or gas in their car. FMLA will not pay the missed wages on the days June misses because she needs to be a wife or a mother. This is where we can help. This is where we can come together, thank God that her nightmare is not our nightmare and help theirs to become one they can see themselves waking up from. I implore you to help the Cormack family. Reach into your hearts, your bibles, and your pocket books and become the light in a dark and desperate situation. Any small amount helps."
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