Craig Hardy was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome after a vacation to Indonesia

By Jason Duaine Hahn
September 05, 2018 04:29 PM
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Credit: Deborah Hardy/Go Fund Me

For the last three months, Craig Hardy, a 52-year-old father of three, has been unable to move, speak or breathe on his own after coming down with a rare neurological disorder when he returned from a visit to Indonesia.

“He’s lying there awake but he’s not able to move,” Craig’s sister-in-law, Deborah Hardy, told news.com.au. “His mind his 100 percent perfect but he’s trapped; it’s like being buried alive.”

The ordeal began in June, a day after Craig returned from Bali to his home in Austrailia and experienced an upset stomach, which commonly happens to travelers who visit the popular Indonesian island. But Craig’s symptoms continued to worsen, and as he drove himself to a local hospital to get medical attention, he began to lose control of his body.

“They took him straight into emergency and by that night he was paralyzed from head to toe and in an induced coma,” Deborah told the news website.

Doctors discovered Craig’s organs were shutting down, and placed the “hard-working family man” on a ventilator to help him breathe. They later performed a tracheotomy.

Craig’s wife, Megan, and their teenage children — Aimee, Tayla and Haydn — were soon told he had Guillain-Barré syndrome, a neurological disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks the peripheral nervous system, which affects about one in 100,000 people a year.

The syndrome’s impact can vary from person to person, either causing a mild weakness in the body or a “devastating” paralysis, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Symptoms usually begin with a tingling in the legs or hands, and progress to weakness in both sides of the body that increases in intensity as hours or days go by.

As of today, Craig can only lightly move his face and neck.

“Every now and again he gets the feeling he is drowning because of the fluid on his lungs which they have to pump out,” Deborah told news.com.au. “But he can’t say anything.”

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Craig uses a letter board to spell out sentences, picking out letters — one by one — using his eyes. According to a GoFundMe page set up by the family, Craig’s first question was, “When can I go home?”

There is no known cure for Guillain-Barré syndrome, but, fortunately, some 70 percent of patients make a full recovery weeks or months after diagnosis. According to news.com.au, doctors believe it may take two years for Craig to regain some of his abilities.

“He’s a hard-working, dedicated family man,” Deborah said. “He’d do anything for anyone, he’s very funny, a strong man, hence his nickname ‘Rock,’ but a heart of gold.”

The family’s donation page to raise money for Craig’s care has raised nearly $10,000 of its $100,000 goal.