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Woman Who Was Paralysed By Rare Condition Becomes Physiotherapist

Jake Massey

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Woman Who Was Paralysed By Rare Condition Becomes Physiotherapist

In October 2014, Rachael Bailey was a fresher at Liverpool John Moores University, studying criminology and psychology.

But when a 'bad hangover' transpired to be the beginnings of a rare neurological disorder, her world was flipped on its head.

Fast-forward to the present day, and the 25-year-old is now 'absolutely adoring' working as a physiotherapist, having been inspired to change course by the 'heroes' who helped her recover from being paralysed from the head down.

Rachael was inspired by the physios who helped her during her long recovery. Credit: Rachael Bailey
Rachael was inspired by the physios who helped her during her long recovery. Credit: Rachael Bailey

Rachael, from Nottingham, was 19 when she woke up with a tingling sensation in her legs, which she initially attributed to a combination of excessive booze and poor footwear. But just three days later she was on a ventilator, and a year that once held so much promise, rapidly became a 'nightmare'.

Rachael was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), a rare neurological disorder which causes the immune system to attack parts of the nervous system, leaving sufferers paralysed and with pain in their limbs.

In Rachael's case, she was paralysed from the head down, and she could only communicate with doctors by looking at letters on a board - spending countless hours in excruciating pain but unable to scream.

Rachael was placed on a ventilator just three days after symptoms first set in. Credit: SWNS
Rachael was placed on a ventilator just three days after symptoms first set in. Credit: SWNS
Rachael was paralysed from the head down. Credit: SWNS
Rachael was paralysed from the head down. Credit: SWNS

Remarkably though, after 59 days in critical care and 76 days in rehabilitation, she left hospital on her own two feet on 11 March 2015.

Doctors said her recovery was 'miraculous', given how quickly she had deteriorated. Indeed, Rachael was so in awe of the team that helped her during those tortuous months in hospital, she decided to follow in their footsteps and become a physiotherapist.

She subsequently switched to a physiotherapy degree at the University of Nottingham, graduating with a first class degree this summer, having been tutored by one of the physios who once cared for her.

Now, she's helping others at Harefield Hospital in Uxbridge, and her amazing journey has become a viral hit.


Speaking to LADbible, Rachael said: "I wasn't expecting this kind of response at all. It's really weird thinking about how many people have now seen my face because of a tweet!

"For me, having GBS was the best worst thing to ever happen. I'm so grateful for the experience I had and so much positive has come from it.

"I absolutely adore it [working as a physio at Harefield Hospital]. Everyday is different and my team are all really supportive and hilarious. I feel very lucky this is my first job."

The 25-year-old is loving working as a physio. Credit: SWNS
The 25-year-old is loving working as a physio. Credit: SWNS
Now she just wants to help others - and feature in a Louis Theroux documentary. Credit: SWNS
Now she just wants to help others - and feature in a Louis Theroux documentary. Credit: SWNS

Rachael still has nerve damage in her lower limbs and suffers from neuropathic pain and muscle spasms. It's always possible her GBS could return, but Rachael tries 'not to dwell on it', instead focussing on how she can help others.

That said, she is happy to take some time out from work if Louis Theroux fancies swinging by, and wants it to be known that she is '1,000 percent available for any documentary he might be interested in making'.

So if you're reading, Louis, you know where to find her.

Featured Image Credit: SWNS

Topics: Awesome, Daily Ladness, Inspirational, Community

Jake Massey
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