Excited to explore Europe, University of Arizona student, Kara Dunn traveled to Spain. She saw the sights in the capital, Barcelona, then went to Seville. A little less than a week had gone by, and she was ready to see more. That’s when she started experiencing a tingling sensation in her teeth, arms, and legs. Dunn thought she could sleep it off, but the next morning, she couldn’t move.
She awoke to find that her face was paralyzed and she had double-vision. Rushed to the hospital, she soon found out that she had a rare autoimmune disorder: Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS). Her immune system had started attacking her nerves. The cause is unknown but is often preceded by an infectious illness like the stomach flu.
Her friends back home were shocked and could only wait for news from afar:
“It’s hard hearing that one of your best friends has such a rare and harmful disorder and you can’t even be there with her,” said Dunn’s roommate Sarah Schwyhart.
Her brother Ryan said that the hospital had sedated and intubated his sister for severe pneumonia, which had complicated the condition.
Fortunately, most people who develop the disorder recover, but the recovery can take months or longer, and some people retain lingering symptoms. Kara couldn’t stay stranded in Spain for a full recovery. She would have to be air evacuated all the way back to Arizona.