Dubuque Teacher Walks Again After Fighting Rare Syndrome

By Katie Wiedemann, Reporter

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By Katie Wiedemann

DUBUQUE, Iowa — Only a few weeks ago, 30-year-old Bridget Hamilton could barely open her eyes. Doctors diagnosed her with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks its nerves.

For Hamilton, her life altering ordeal started just before Thanksgiving.

"We went to a Carrie Underwood concert and my feet kept falling asleep. I was moving my feet the entire time, trying to get them to wake up. I just thought it was kind of weird,” Bridget said.

It was even more weird, she said, when the feeling spread to her hands. So her husband, Chad, took her to the Emergency Room. “That Wednesday it got so bad they had to airlift her to Iowa City,” Chad Hamilton said.

Bridget spent the next 50 days at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, fighting for her life. She was far away from her three children.

“Yeah it was hard,” said Bridget, “I don’t wish it on any parent ever.”

Things got worse, before they got better. Paralyzed from the neck down, she needed a ventilator to breathe.

That’s when the couple made a promise.

“The nurses said ‘shave that beard. It looks bad,’ said Chad. “But I said ‘no we have a bet. I said we are not going to shave until she walks.’ “

So Bridget began her comeback. All the while the students at Bryant sent cards, prayers and messages of support. Now with the milestone of her first steps, Chad’s bushy beard came off.

On Friday, she surprised students at Bryant Elementary School with her remarkable recovery.

There are some steps you take in life to get you places. And then there are steps that show how far you’ve come.

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