In early 2011, Holly was a healthy 26 year old who had just given birth to her first child, her daughter Casey. When Casey was just 3 weeks old, Holly was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disorder called Guillain- Barre Syndrome (GBS). A tingle in her finger and weakness in her legs brought her to the ER and within 12 hours she could no longer walk anymore. The disorder progressed very quickly and by Day 3 she was in the ICU on life support. Holly spent almost three months paralyzed from the neck down, breathing on a ventilator. She was unable to move, speak, or hold her newborn baby girl. When she finally started to recover, she had to learn how to do everything again, including how to breathe off the ventilator, how to use her hands and feed herself, how to hold her daughter, and eventually how to walk again. Her daughter was almost 6 months old when she was finally able to return to her life as a wife and new mom.
After months of hard work and rehabilitation, Holly made an almost complete recovery. She then wrote her book, “Happily Ever After”, to share with others what she went through. Her goal in sharing her story was to reach others going through GBS and to create some much needed awareness on this rare but devastating illness. She wanted her story to remind others that through the difficult times in your life, you can find your strength. Her journey is documented in her viral YouTube Video – Holly’s Journey: From Guillain -Barre Syndrome to Happily Ever After.
Only a few years after her recovery, Holly found herself rebuilding her life all over again following the end of her decade long marriage. Instead of letting the struggles in her life break her, she used them to become stronger. Holly got herself a gym membership, and fell in love with fitness. She refused to make excuses or let her weaknesses hold her back, and gave it her all. Knowing that she had been in a wheelchair and used a walker at one point only helped her to push herself. Her determination and perseverance helped her conquer her goals, and she is now stronger than she ever was before GBS.
Holly’s inspirational story has been all over international media, and she continues to share her experiences with the world. She volunteers with the GBS Foundation of Canada and connects with others in hopes of inspiring them to never, ever give up.
Holly now shares a life with her fiance and their blended family of five in Edmonton, Canada.