How would you react if you were living a normal life, to find out one day that you were diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a rare condition that causes temporary paralysis from the neck down?
That’s what happened to James Sloan of Shreveport, LA after he went to a doctor to seek care for what he thought was a stomach virus. James was paralyzed from the neck down but was told, that like 98% of other patients with Guillain-Barre, he would recover in six to 12 months.
That was in 2001; today in 2005 James is still paralyzed and relies on a newly donated chair from Alternatives in Motion, but the way this chair was acquired is a special and unique story in and of itself.
While home on military leave from his deployment with the 2nd Marine Battalion, Lt. Eric VerHulst brought in a wheelchair for donation. Just a few days prior, his father Glen VerHulst, passed away after living with a progressive form of multiple sclerosis.
Eric, a resident of Grand Rapids, MI, heard about Alternatives in Motion and wanted to help the cause. Eric stopped by the office and donated the chair on July 27, 2004. The next day, the navy chaplain boarded a plan and returned to his unit south of Baghdad.
It just so happened that Alternatives in Motion already had an application from James Sloan and even more ironic, the chair fit the description of what James needed. The chair was shipped to Louisiana where a local vendor put all the pieces back together and got James off and rolling.
Now James is able to leave the confines of the Irving Place Rehabilitation Center where he resides and has the ability to move around freely on his own. James’ wife Debra said, “Just to be able to move from place to place and see him outside in the sunshine, it’s a very good feeling.”