From being a fit and healthy teenager to lying paralysed in a hospital bed, Cameron Smith’s world was turned upside down in a matter of days.
The 14-year-old lost his sight and the use of his limbs “virtually overnight” after being struck down with a rare and debilitating condition.
In July last year, Cameron was taking part in a Duke of Edinburgh expedition when he started to have problems moving his arms and legs.
Within days his distraught mum Kirsty was watching him “waste away”, unable to walk, move his arms or see.
The diagnosis was Guillain-Barré syndrome – a rapid-onset muscle weakness where the immune system attacks the nerves.
Cameron, from Burnopfield, spent six weeks in hospital paralysed by the condition before slowly starting to fight his way back to health.
And after a remarkable recovery last weekend, the inspirational teen complete one of the goals that kept him going during his rehabilitation – completing the Great North 5k to raise money for Newcastle’s Great North Children’s Hospital.
Mum Kirsty said Cameron had always been healthy when, in summer last year, he started to notice problems with his limbs.
The family rushed him to hospital when he complained that he was “seeing double”.
Kirsty said: “We were referred to Sunderland Eye Infirmary and they told us there was definitely something going on but weren’t sure what it was.
“He then had an MRI scan at Sunderland Royal and before we knew it we were being referred to the RVI.
“Suddenly he couldn’t walk, he was in a wheelchair. It all happened so quickly, I’ve never seen anything like it in my life.
“That’s when they identified his condition – Guillain-Barré syndrome. It affects the nervous system and his organs were attacking his body.
“It was horrific to watch. Seeing your son being fit and well one minute then lying in a hospital bed wasting away before your eyes – words can’t express it.”
Cameron remained in a wheelchair for another two months, starting to go through intense physiotherapy in August.