Paul Barron was diagnosed with Guillian Barre Syndrome (GBS) at the end of August 2007, after being flown home from his family holiday in France following an episode of paralysis whilst swimming in a lake.
He was initially admitted to Kettering General Hospital where was quickly deteriorated, becoming paralysed from the neck down over the course of 4 days. He was transferred to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford for specialist neurological care where he spend the next 6.5 weeks.
The condition is difficult to diagnose, and this was complicated further by initial concerns about prolapsed vertebrae in his neck (later operated upon in July 2008!) and after a full MRI scan, lumber puncture and an electromyogram, he began treatment using immunoglobulin (IVIG - White Blood cells given intravenously).
GBS is a rare condition that affects 1 in 40,000 people each year, following a severe throat or bowel infection. The body's white blood cells, that have treated the infection, get confused and start to digest the myelin sheath that surrounds all the nerves in the body. It starts with the peripheral nervous system (hands, feet, legs arms) and then goes onto affect the central nervous system and can affect breathing and blood pressure. Some people are admitted to ICU, and have a tracheotomy to support their breathing. Paul avoided this even though the department had a bed ready for him 3 times! He had a feeding tube inserted, as the muscles in his throat gave up and he started to choke on his food.
After two courses of IVIG, and intensive physiotherapy, Paul learnt to stand and transfer his body weight, so was transferred to Beechwood rehabilitation unit in Wellingborough on 15th October 2007. He stayed there until the end of November, when he came home, with a wheelchair and being able to climb a few steps. He had a bedroom set up downstairs.
Progress continued slowly (the condition uses the catchphrase "Getting Better Slowly") and in February 2008, he started back at work, in the warehouse, for 3 mornings a week. By July he had gradually built up to full time warehouse work. He then had neck surgery and finally returned to home deliveries in October 2008.
Paul, Mel and friends are raising money to support the charity which offers support for families affected by the condition (patients usually need hospitalisation in specialist units, often a distance from their home and family), and also to enable further research into the condition. Paul was lucky, making a full recovery. Some people are not so lucky, being left with a range of paralysis and weakness and some die from the condition.
This is the 3rd event we have done, the 1st being a 5K run and two years ago, we cycled from London to Brighton. This is a much bigger challenge and the harsh winter has really affected our training! If you can sponsor us for any amount, we would be really grateful.
Thanks for reading - Cycle Team GBS (Paul Barron, Mel Barron, Chris Moreton, Lloyd Chettle, Richard Chettle, Richard Andrews, Andrew Daniel, Deb Lasky, Neill Boddington).
We'd also like to say a big thank you to all our supporters during the ride.
Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving – they’ll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity and make sure Gift Aid is reclaimed on every eligible donation by a UK taxpayer. So it’s the most efficient way to donate - I raise more, whilst saving time and cutting costs for the charity.
So please dig deep and donate now.