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On the Move | Beyond Guillain–Barré Syndrome

“In a matter of days, he was paralyzed.”

Bob Gardiner was everything a 51-year-old should be–happy, healthy. A successful businessman, a loving husband, a devoted father. He ran for miles each day, was a proud football season ticket-holder for the Nebraska Cornhuskers, and valued the opportunity to travel the country with his wife and children.

That life changed after a rapid onset of Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare and devastating neurological disorder in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own nervous system, resulting in widespread and, in Bob’s case, complete paralysis throughout the body below the shoulders. The disorder has no known cause, no obvious trigger.

Bob began receiving treatment from QLI’s inpatient rehabilitation team in November 2017. He returned to his Omaha home the following spring, boasting huge physical improvements thanks to intensive physical and occupational therapy to recover the impaired function in his upper body, as well as regular gait training designed to hone his ability to walk. Bob is still an active participant in adaptive sports, and, at the time of this writing, has begun training as part of QLI’s Adaptive Functional Fitness program.

His is a story of hardship becoming hope, pain becoming purpose, and a family’s journey toward a new future.

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