A woman teaching in Thailand was struck by an illness that paralysed her, and her health insurance company wouldn't help her get home

Pierce Bradner/GoFundMeCaroline Bradner.
  • 22-year-old Caroline Bradner was paralysed by Guillain Barré Syndrome (GBS), a rare autoimmune disease, while teaching in Thailand.
  • GBS is curable with the right treatment. Bradner’s family has been trying to get her home.
  • After the family raised more than $US70,000 on GoFundMe, Bradner’s travel insurance company agreed to pay for her flight back. The family said funds would go toward treatment and autoimmune research.

The family of a 22-year-old woman is frantically trying to get her home after she was struck by a sudden illness that left her paralysed.

Caroline Bradner spent two months teaching students English in Thailand after graduating from the University of Mississippi. On December 22, she woke up unable to move, her brother Pierce wrote in a GoFundMe post.

After a friend called an ambulance and sent her to a hospital, Bradner was diagnosed with Guillain Barré Syndrome (GBS), a rare autoimmune disease that can cause severe paralysis, but is usually cured with the right treatment, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes.

“Caroline has been going through treatments to help her condition,” Pierce Bradner wrote on GoFundMe. “She is improving, but is still paralysed and it looks like this will be a long recovery, lasting from months to years.”

In the weeks since, Bradner’s family has been trying to make travel arrangements to get her back home, so she could be treated by specialists at the Virginia Commonwealth University medical center in Richmond, Virginia. Travelling would require flying with a nurse, which could cost thousands of dollars, but Bradner’s medical and travel insurances denied her claims.

But after social media attention – and after the family’s GoFundMe raised more than its $US70,000 goal for a flight and Bradner’s care – her travel insurance company agreed to cover the costs of her flying back home. On Wednesday, Bradner’s brother wrote that the funds would be used for her rehabilitation, and leftovers would be donated to a foundation that studies GBS.

“CAROLINE IS COMING HOME!! Because of this community and your support the travel insurance company has looked at the case again and has agreed to get Caroline home,” Pierce Bradner wrote on Facebook. “Thank you so much to everyone who has supported our efforts. We are so so grateful to have you all in our lives.”

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