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West Norfolk siblings to take on Three Peaks to fundraise for cause affecting stepfather


By Eve Tawfick


A woman whose stepfather collapsed with a rare neurological disorder is set to take on a gruelling challenge to raise awareness of the killer condition.

Tesni Foster, from Lynn, is taking on the Three Peaks challenge with her brother Joe Sims to raise money for the charity GAIN.

GAIN raises money for those suffering from GBS (Guillain-Barre Syndrome), an extremely rare disorder that affects one to two peoplein every 100,000.

Paul in ICU in Thailand with wife Sandy and a friend (16435226)
Paul in ICU in Thailand with wife Sandy and a friend (16435226)

The condition is rated as highly dangerous by the NHS. Normally the immune system attacks any germs that get into the body.

But in people with GBS, something goes wrong and it mistakenly attacks and damages the nerves.

Paul Sims was struck down whilst enjoying a holiday in Thailand with wife Sandy, and was in ICU out there for two months before being transported by air ambulance back to the UK, via Russia.

Paul said: “I went to the beach and noticed I had pins and needles, I went for a swim and I still had them.

“Shortly after, I lost use of my legs and made my way back to the hotel.

“I told my wife to go and enjoy herself, and when she returned to the hotel she found me on the floor.”

Tesni said: “He was rushed to the local hospital and was diagnosed very quickly with GBS and put on a ventilator in ICU.

“He went blind, couldn’t breathe unassisted, his lung collapsed after contracting pneumonia and it was looking very unlikely he would make it home.

“At London airport an ambulance was waiting which rushed him to St Thomas’ Hospital.

“He was then in and out of ICU for weeks. Finally at the end of May he was transferred to a rehabilitation hospital in Essex.

“He regained his sight, and some of his nerves started to repair themselves, and after all this time he was able to swallow again, so he could start to eat solid foodand regain some of the weight he had lost.He was very frail.

“The doctor in London had been practising medicine for 40 years, and had only seen one case of GBS prior to my stepdad.”

“It was a terrifying ordeal and he still hasn’t fully recovered. He is currently learning to walk again. My mum was with him in Thailand and it was stressful being abroad whilst he was undergoing treatment.”

Paul said: “I am so grateful for my family and friends,they have been so strong for me. It’s tough to get back to normal– at the moment I feel like I’m walking through snow, but I’ll get there.”

Tesni and Joe are aiming to raise £2,000 and also spread the word about GBS. Tesni said there is “little to no awareness of the condition as it’s so rare”.

To sponsor their Three Peaks challenge over Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon go to : https://wonderful.org/fundraiser/teamgbs3peakschallenge-7f2e954e



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