By all accounts, Holly Gerlach was a vibrant young woman. The beautiful brunette had an infectious smile and was known for making the most of life.
When she was 26 years old, Holly found out she was pregnant with her first child.
She had dreamed of this moment since childhood and was thrilled to finally be becoming a mother.
On January 26th, 2011, Holly gave birth to a beautiful baby girl who she named Casey. The young mother was living her dreams, a little fairytale that she had always envisioned.
Unfortunately, and unbeknownst to Holly, her perfect world was about to come crashing down.
When Casey was 20 days old, Holly fell extremely ill, requiring hospitalization.
She was paralyzed from the neck down and was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré Syndrome.
According to Mayo Clinic, “Guillain-Barré Syndrome is a rare disorder in which your body’s immune system attacks your nerves. […] The exact cause of Guillain-Barré Syndrome is unknown. But it is often preceded by an infectious illness such as a respiratory infection or the stomach flu.”
Holly was unable to move her body. She required a lift to be moved from her bed every day, a respirator to breathe, and she could no longer talk.
Despite it all, baby Casey was at her side every step of the way.
Holly’s pain was unbearable and she found it hard to even get through the day, but somehow the young mother gained vitality through little Casey, using all of her strength to connect with her newborn daughter.
The two would stick their tongues out back and forth, Casey eventually learning to “cluck” as a way to communicate with her mother.
And, slowly but surely, Holly began to recover.
At first, she practiced breathing without assistance. When she mastered that, the respirator was discarded. Soon she learned to speak, sit up, and eventually stand by herself.
She practiced fine motor skills and used a walker to walk every single day.
After 126 days, she was finally healthy enough to return home.
In a video uploaded to YouTube, Holly calculates the time she spent in the hospital, writing:
“10 weeks in the ICU, 6 weeks in a neurology ward, and 3 weeks in a rehabilitation hospital.”
After returning home, she continued to exercise, ultimately growing stronger each day.
Holly has since written a book about her experiences, entitled “Happily Ever After: My Journey with Guillain-Barré Syndrome and How I Got My Life Back”. And, as the title suggests, the young mother is now back to living the fairytale life she had always dreamed of.
Wow, what a dazzling example of the healing power of love!
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