Kara Dunn, a 20-year-old University Of Arizona student, was on vacation in Spain on June 5 when she woke up unable to move and with slurred speech.

She was rushed to the hospital only for the doctor to tell her that she had Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare autoimmune disorder. She was also intubated and sedated for severe pneumonia.

Her brother, Ryan Dunn, set up a GoFundMe page to help with the medical expenses.

He wrote on the page that the night before, his sister felt ill and “had tingling sensations in her hands and face.”

According to Ryan’s Facebook page, he and his mom, Dawn Dunn-Rice, flew to Spain to be with Kara.

Ryan kept friends, family, and supporters updated with Kara’s slowly improving condition through the GoFundMe page and Facebook.

On June 9, Ryan wrote on Facebook:

Just said goodnight to Kara. I was able to make her smile a few times with various self-deprecating jokes… Her ability to smile is very encouraging. Her physicians are moving forward with a plan to remove her breathing tube in the next two days.

Ryan, who is a medical student, continued to give updates on Facebook about Kara’s condition and how they hoped to fly her back to the U.S. on a medical jet. His updates recently included a video from Kara, thanking her supporters.

In a Facebook post from June 13, Ryan said that they are hoping to fly Kara to Phoenix, Arizona, this weekend and the flight will be paid in full by the insurance company.

In a Facebook post from June 14, he said Kara was cleared to fly.

Ryan wrote on Facebook:

The flight team just arrived and assessed Kara. She’s cleared to fly! We’ll be in the air in 12 hours!

The Dunn family is hoping to raise $100,000 on their GoFundMe page to help cover Kara’s medical bills and rehabilitation expenses. So far, they raised a little over $92,700.

Ryan wrote in an update on the GoFundMe page that whatever money they end up not using for Kara’s recovery, they will be donating it to research to “find cures for autoimmune and neurological illnesses like Guillain-Barré Syndrome.”

Guillain-Barré syndrome is a rare condition where the immune system attacks the peripheral nervous system and paralyzes parts or the whole body, according to Healthline

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, only 1 in 100,000 Americans develop this syndrome.

The exact cause of Guillain-Barré syndrome is currently unknown. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says that about two-thirds of people who have the syndrome developed it after they were sick with a respiratory infection or diarrhea.

Some symptoms of the Guillain-Barré include tingling in your legs and feet, tingling in your arms, severe lower back pain, difficulty breathing or moving your eyes, and muscle weakness.

Healthline reports that the autoimmune disease can take long to recover from, but most people make a full recovery.

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One Reply to “College Student Woke Up Paralyzed While On Vacation Abroad— She Had Developed a Rare Condition”

  • valerie rodriguez 1 year ago

    did she get a vaccine prior to her flying or anytime in the last 6 months? my mother came down with the same “rare disorder” Guillain-Barré syndrome getting a flu vaccine.

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