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Recent UM Graduate to Return Home After Contracting Autoimmune Disease in Thailand

By Talbert Toole
Lifestyles Editor

Caroline Brander contracted an autoimmune disease while teaching English in Thailand in December. Photo via GoFundMe.

Caroline Bradner, a recent graduate of the University of Mississippi, will soon be on her way back to the United States for recovery after contracting Guillain Barré Syndrome (GBS)—an autoimmune disease—in Thailand while teaching English.

Bradner woke up in her apartment in Thailand unable to move on Dec. 22, her family wrote on a GoFundMe page that was created in efforts to raise funds to bring Brander home.

When Bradner initially became ill, she found it more and more difficult to walk. After seeking treatment from a hospital in Thailand where she received blood work, the hospital believed Bradner might have been suffering from multiple sclerosis—a disease in which the immune system eats away at the protective covering of nerves—her family wrote on the GoFundMe page.

Bradner’s condition worsened from muscle weakness in the abdomen into paralysis over a course of merely two days.

“Thankfully, she had a friend with her to call an ambulance and get her to the hospital where she was diagnosed with Guillain Barré Syndrome,” the family wrote.

The disease that Bradner contracted is a rare neurological disorder in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks part of its peripheral nervous system—the network of nerves located outside of the brain and spinal cord, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NIDS).

Unfortunately, the exact cause of GBS is unknown; however, the disease is not contagious nor inherited.

While Bradner began a long and difficult recovery process in Thailand, her mother was able to fly out on Christmas Eve to be with her for the holiday until both could return home to Virginia, according to the GoFundMe page.

The GoFundMe page initially began to raise funds to bring Brander home due to the family’s insurance deny the request for any transportation of their daughter back to the U.S., according to the family.

The family wrote due to the denial of the insurance company, it could be months before she would be able to fly on a regular flight because Brander would require a nurse and special seating.

After raising more than $76,000, and receiving an outpouring of support and attention from social media, the travel insurance company has agreed to bring Bradner home.

Bradner will seek treatment and recovery at the VCU medical center in Richmond, Virginia once she has returned back to the U.S.

“We will utilize all funds for her medical costs and rehabilitation,” the family wrote. “If there are any additional funds they will be donated to GBS/CIDP Foundation International.”

To donate to Carolina Bradner’s cause, visit the family’s GoFundMe page “Help Bring My Sister with Paralysis Back to U.S.”

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