Friends rally to help active father with rare nerve disorder - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Friends rally to help active father with rare nerve disorder

Chad and Kit Shelton with their son, who plays for the Columbia Blowfish (Source: Walk Chad Walk) Chad and Kit Shelton with their son, who plays for the Columbia Blowfish (Source: Walk Chad Walk)
WEST COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

You may have seen him on the sidelines of a baseball game or cheerleading competition. Maybe you noticed he wasn't there this season.

"I was always on the go, go, go. I was not a couch potato. I loved being outdoors," Chad Shelton said.

"He was the cheer dad in the front row, you know?" said Shelton's wife, Kit. "And he's the baseball dad."

What started as a respiratory infection for the active, healthy 49-year-old in December led to six months in the hospital and 60 pounds lost. He went months without being able to move or communicate. Doctors resuscitated him twice.

"There was a very high chance that they were going to lose me," he said.

"To be told a couple of times that your husband id going to die is very scary," Kit said. "He was actually trapped in his body."

Guillain-Barre Syndrome has taken Shelton's mobility, but it's given him something else.

"I've taken another chance in life," he said. "I plan on taking advantage of it."

"I look at life more at a different angle now. I see life through my heart and not through my eyes or my mind's eye anymore."

According to the Mayo Clinic, "Guillain-Barre syndrome is a rare disorder in which your body's immune system attacks your nerves." The Sheltons want people to know that the disorder can strike any one, at any time.

"I'm very thankful just to be alive."

"Your life can change in just a matter of days, or a day," he said. "Be thankful for what you got and don't let the small things get to you."

"It has been a very tough journey," Shelton said. "But, in some ways, I'm—I'm thankful I got it, because it changed my life for the positive. It made me see the world for the beautiful place that it is and I encourage anybody, everybody, to enjoy every day like it's their last."

"I'll never be what I once was, but that's okay," he said. "I still have a beautiful wife, two fantastic children. I have a mother that cares for me deeply and family members that care for me deeply and quite frankly, I didn't realize I had so many friends."

"We'll make it," Kit said. "It's gonna' be a challenge, but we'll rise to the occasion with the help of family and friends.

Those friends have rallied to organize a baseball game and fundraising 5K walk in Shelton's Honor on Saturday, August 9. They have also provided dinners, rides and support for Shelton's family.

"I'm overwhelmed and I'm humbled," said Shelton. "Whenever I get the chance, which I have, on several occasions, I tell them I love them."

Copyright 2014 WIS. All rights reserved.

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