Nearly a decade after learning to smile once again, a young mother was struck by a rare disease for the second time; all because of a cold.
Aiysha Hancock's face was partially paralyzed due to Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS).
GBS is thought to occur when an error occurs with the immune system after infection.
The 20-year-old from Porthcawl hopes to raise awareness of the condition, which only affects 50 people in Wales every year.
Aiysha took more than a decade to smile again after the first time she was three years old.
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"The second time I just had an ordinary fever, normal cold and cold disappeared and was clear, when I lost, you didn't expect anything else," he said.
"But after the cold disappeared, I had pins and needles at my feet.
"I tried to lift my legs, I tried to walk, I tried everything I could think of. Throughout the day the pins and needles got worse and worse."
In April 2018, he woke up in the early hours because he could not move his legs. Fearing that GBS had attacked again, his parents drove him directly to the hospital.
"I remember the person who examined me saying that it was rarely affected by this disease, and even less often got it," said Aiysha.
The test was carried out, and paralysis spread to Aiysha's body until she could not breathe independently.
"They made me fall asleep," he said. "I'm not sure how long. I think it's a month."
About a quarter of people who get GBS end up in intensive care.
"We have known about this disease for at least 100 years but we don't really understand what caused it," said Dr. Richard Self, head of intensive care consultants at the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend.
What is Guillain-Barre syndrome?
- This is a very rare and serious condition that affects the nerves.
- This mainly affects the feet, hands and limbs, causing problems such as numbness, weakness and pain.
- Symptoms include numbness and pins and needles starting in the legs and arms before spreading to the arms and legs. You can also have muscle weakness, pain and problems with balance and coordination. In severe cases, you may experience difficulty moving, walking, breathing and swallowing.
- About one in 20 cases is fatal.
- This can be triggered by infection, in very rare cases vaccinations, surgery, medical procedures or injuries
- Some people will not be completely cured and left with long-term problems such as being unable to walk without help, weakness in the arms, legs or face, numbness, pain or tingling or burning sensation, balance and coordination of problems and extreme fatigue.
Source: NHS UK
"Most people will have a viral infection or maybe some gastroenteritis, some diarrhea, and then it is thought that this can trigger an immune disorder when the body attacks the nerves.
"Most people will get better, unfortunately about a quarter of people who suffer from this don't get fully better and may have long-term weaknesses and the whole experience of being sick leaves long-term psychological consequences too."
When he woke up, Aiysha could not speak but, through working with speech and language therapists, she learned to communicate by choosing images of things she wanted to use her eyes.
Finally, he managed to go home to his partner Luke and his daughter Aurora, who was then nine months old.
But, he remained very weak and continued to suffer from pins and needles and pain in his legs, feet and hands. He hasn't regained his smile.
& # 39; My body is much weaker & # 39;
"It affects me in various ways," he said. "My whole body is much weaker. I struggle to lift basic things almost every day.
"Usually, I can walk far. But now, I can walk to the end of the road and a few days I will be really tired."
Now, he sets out to set up support groups for people who suffer from GBS, and to run a marathon one day.
"There are lots of thoughts circling in your head after that and when you have them and you don't understand them," he said.
"If you know someone with that or someone who has the same experience with you, I think that thought will be much less."