My name is Ben Yelkin, I am a husband, father, son, brother, friend and survivor of Guillain-Barre Syndrome. This has been an amazing journey and the fight continues. I first experienced symptoms of Guillain-Barre Syndrome in late fall of 2012. The disease started with weakness then tingling in my toes…then my toes and fingers…then feet and hands. I called my doctor and he said not to worry about it. I went to the ER when it spread to my arms and legs, they sent me home and told me not to worry about it. When I was finally admitted to the hospital I could not walk up stairs without help.
The doctors administered different treatments but the disease kept progressing. I completely lost the use of my legs and most of my arms within the first week at the hospital. I lost the remaining use of my arms, I was unable to sit up on my own, the right side of my face was paralyzed and finally, my diaphragm was weakened to the point that I was put on a ventilator December 26th.
I was released from the hospital in an electric wheelchair at the end of March, just days before the initial Running Down GBS race. Over the next few months I focused on outpatient therapy and by late June was able to walk using a walker. I traded in the walker for a cane in July and in October 2013 I ran again.
My story continues to get better, in November of 2014 I ran in the Good Life Halfsy half marathon. I continue to improve physically, help with Running Down GBS and volunteer with local hospitals talking with patients that are struggling with Guillain-Barre Syndrome.