TAMPA, Fla. (FOX 13) - An Oklahoma family on vacation in the Bay Area ended up in the hospital with their toddler, who went from perfectly healthy to seemingly paralyzed in a matter of days.
The symptoms came on fast. One-year-old Cadence Jones has kept her parents on their toes since she was born.
"A busy body, she’s always on the go, she was walking at nine months," said her mother, Mikah Jones.
The Oklahoma family flew to Clearwater Beach for a weeklong family reunion last month. On day two of the trip, Cadence suddenly stopped walking, and then couldn't even sit up.
"Over a 12-hour period, it just had progressed, and progressed, and progressed,” Mikah explained.
"We grabbed her and we took off, we went straight to the hospital," Dad Joseph Jones said.
At this point, the Jones' say their daughter was basically paralyzed, not even responding to doctors when they tested her reflexes.
"That’s the point where it really hit us that something was majorly wrong," said Mikah.
The toddler was sedated in the pediatric ICU at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital and hooked up to breathing and feeding tubes.
After running some tests, they realized Cadence was a victim of Guillain-Barre Syndrome - a rare disorder in which the body's immune system mistakenly attacks the nerves.
"We didn’t know what it was, we had to research it ourselves," Joseph said.
The exact cause of GBS is unknown, but most people make a full recovery. The news came as a relief for the Jones’ who say Cadence is finally starting to come back to life after spending nearly a month in the hospital.
"She still has a feeding tube, she cannot eat on her own or anything yet, but she is awake and alert,” said Mikah.
The young family is stuck nearly 1,300 miles from home with their lives on hold until their daughter recovers.
They say cadence is tough, but the road to recovery will be a long one.
"We do have to teach her how to walk again, and she does have to have speech therapy and physical therapy,” Mikah explained. “Basically it’s almost like having a newborn again."
They are just grateful Cadence is expected to make a full recovery from this traumatic ordeal.
It's unclear right now when the Jones' will be able to head back to Oklahoma. Mikah and Joseph aren't earning paychecks while they're in Tampa, and the bills are piling up. Friends and family have been raising money online to help.