NewsPinellas County


One-year-old girl diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome during family vacation in Clearwater Beach

Rare disorder paralyzes the body
Posted at 10:20 PM, Aug 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-16 02:23:27-04

TAMPA, Fla. — A vacation for an Oklahoma family turns into an extended hospital stay after their daughter got sick.

Joseph and Mikah Jones were visiting Clearwater Beach with their one-year-old daughter in July.

They said their daughter, Cadence, could no longer walk.

"She didn’t want to walk anymore. She didn’t want to crawl. We put her down for a nap thinking the plane had made her extremely exhausted, but when she got up she couldn’t even crawl. She couldn’t even sit up by herself," said mother Mikah Jones.

Their daughter was taken to St. Joseph's Children's Hospital in Tampa. Doctors diagnosed her with Guillain-Barré syndrome.

According to the Mayo Clinic, Guillain-Barré syndrome is a rare disorder in which your body's immune system attacks your nerves.

Most people with the condition must be hospitalized to receive treatment. 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.

"Just seeing her lifeless laying in a bed. She can't move. She can't open her eyes. She couldn't do anything. It tears your heart apart," said Mikah Jones.

Cadence has spent nearly a month in the pediatric intensive care unit.

"We have just started getting stories from other families and stuff, hey this happened to us. We're here for you, praying for you. I had never heard of it, new to us," said father Joseph Jones.

The family said they hope to move their daughter soon to a hospital closer to their home in Oklahoma.

"She will have to learn to walk, move her fingers, how to grab stuff, how to move her arms," said Joseph Jones.

Cadence celebrated her birthday last month. Her parents said she loves the water and enjoys following her parents around.

"She's always moving. She loves to just run around and play. She loves the water," said Joseph Jones.

"I would have never of thought something like this would happen to us. But that just goes to show you, you can't take life for granted," said Mikah Jones.

Relatives set up a GoFundMe page to help the family with medical bills.