Allen's Story

 

Allen's Story

Allen Funk moved from Spartanburg to Keowee Key several years ago. In 2008, he expected family and friends to join him for a beach vacation, but those plans would be interrupted by a disease that only one or two people out of 100,000 experience in a lifetime – Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS), a neurological disorder in which the immune system attacks the nerves and can cause paralysis in hours.
 
It began as a tingle in his feet and then spread. Over the next two days, Allen would become paralyzed from the neck down.
 
The cause of Guillain-Barre is not known, but for many affected people it’s triggered by a respiratory infection or common flu virus. In most cases, GBS sufferers eventually make a full recovery but have a risk of relapse and loss of mobility or motor skills. In Allen’s case, a trip to Roger C. Peace Rehabilitation Hospital (RCP) was in order after 10 days in Intensive Care at Georgetown Hospital.
 
“The crew that worked with me at RCP went above and beyond. I always felt like I was the only patient they were working with,” Funk said.
 
Allen’s medical team included a neurophysiologist, recreational therapist, occupational therapist, physician, and physical therapist. His family and friends were also essential in his healing experience. Neighbors helped build a ramp for his wheelchair, and his family cared for him and encouraged him every step of the way. In addition to his continued therapy at RCP, Allen’s trainer at Keowee Key, David Dale, works with him to continue his recovery.
 
Allen Funk can now walk without assistance, and while he has some difficulty with a few everyday tasks, he considers himself fortunate.
 
“When I see my nurses and physicians and trainers, I know they saved my life," he said. "How do you say thanks for that? The simplest blessings in life have a whole new meaning now."
 
“If you are given a second chance, you think, is there a purpose? I think so. You have a very special opportunity to give back.”

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