Arizona student paralyzed by rare disorder while on vacation in Spain

Home / Arizona student paralyzed by rare disorder while on vacation in Spain

A University of Arizona student is slowly regaining control of her limbs after she woke up paralyzed while on vacation in Spain. Kara Dunn, who reportedly contracted Guillain-Barre Syndrome, remains hospitalized abroad, but may be medically evacuated to the U.S. this weekend.

Her brother, who is a student at the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine in Arizona, has been keeping supporters updated on Facebook and the family’s GoFundMe page. On Wednesday, he said that his 20-year-old sister cannot move her legs, or sit up in bed, but is stabilizing.

“Every day is another step toward recovery,” he wrote on Facebook. “Kara is still not able to move her legs or sit up in bed, but she is stabilizing and will hopefully be able to board a medical flight in a few days so she can get home and start rehab as soon as possible.”

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A previous update included a video message from the student herself, thanking donors for helping her get home.

“Kara’s speech gets clearer and louder every time we see her,” Ryan Dunn posted on Tuesday. “She can move her arms but is entirely paralyzed from the waist down. We are hoping that she can continue to improve so she can be back in Arizona starting rehab as soon as possible. GO KARA!!”

The trouble started for Dunn on June 5, when, according to the GoFundMe page, she woke up paralyzed and was rushed to the hospital. There, she was reportedly diagnosed with the rare immune disorder that attacks nerve cells and causes muscle weakness or paralysis. The symptoms can last a few weeks, and while most patients make a full recovery, some suffer long-term nerve damage, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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Dunn, whose brother and mother have flown to Spain to be with her, was allegedly sedated and intubated for pneumonia while in the hospital, which has complicated her case. As of June 11, the breathing tube was removed and Dunn began breathing on her own. The GoFundMe page is seeking $150,000 to help cover the cost of medical expenses.

On Wednesday, Ryan Dunn told supporters that insurance would cover her flight home, and that as long as she remained stable it could happen as early as this coming weekend. 

“KARA IS COMING HOME!” Ryan Dunn posted on Wednesday. “Contingent upon Kara’s continued improvement, Kara will be on a medical flight bound for Phoenix this weekend. Kara’s travel insurance will pay for the flight IN FULL. We are blown away. A HUGE thank you to On Call International, World Nomads travel insurance and FoxFlight air ambulance.” 

Ryan Dunn said his sister wants any remaining funds raised to be donated. 

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