SAN DIEGO — The Pacific Beach community is rallying behind one of their own this weekend after a rare neurological disorder has left a local woman suddenly paralyzed.
Molly Row, a 32-year-old photographer and bartender, was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome in early February. According to the CDC, the condition happens when a person’s own immune system harms their body’s nerves.
Her symptoms began with tingling in her hands and feet on Feb. 2, Carla Russo, a friend of Molly’s, told FOX 5. Those symptoms increased into the following days, turning painful with sensations of pins and needles in her limbs.
Russo said Molly eventually started losing her ability to walk. At that time, Molly’s husband, San Diego-based U.S. Coast Guard serviceman Dylan Edwards, took her to a local emergency room.
Days later, Molly could no longer move her arms or legs and she lost her ability to speak, said Russo. Molly was rushed to the ICU, intubated and placed on life support, according to the close family friend.
Russo says Molly lost facial and body control, prompting doctors to later give her a tracheostomy as they diagnosed her with Guillain-Barré syndrome.
“She is 100% conscious, can see things through eye movement and is very aware of her surroundings,” Russo stated. “Essentially, she is conscious yet paralyzed.”
Though Molly can now only communicate using an eye-tracking technology that allows her to type on a digital keyboard using her eyes, Russo says doctors are hopeful that they will be able to wean her off the ventilator soon.
Meanwhile, Edwards is currently on leave from the Coast Guard to be by his wife’s side during the recovery process as well as speak on her behalf medically.
The Pacific Beach community is now rallying behind the couple to give support during their time of need.
Molly’s friends and family, along with the local service industry, are hosting a fundraiser at Pueblo restaurant, located at 877 Hornblend St., on Sunday to help with medical expenses, including months-long rehab.
The event will have complimentary finger foods and live music from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
A portion of the proceeds from food and bar sales will go to Row’s medical recovery fund and there will also be prints of her photography available for purchase with 100% of those proceeds going to her recovery fund, Russo explained.
Prints of Molly’s art will also be available for purchase with 100% of cost going to the fundraiser. More information on the event can be found here.
Can’t make the event? There is also an online fundraiser where those interested in her story and journey can send donations.
The CDC estimates that only about 3,000 to 6,000 people develop Guillain-Barré syndrome each year in the U.S.