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Family launches fundraiser to bring home UA student paralyzed in Spain

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PHOENIX — An Arizona college student vacationing in Spain went to sleep feeling ill and woke up paralyzed and fighting for her life. Her family members have turned to social media to help get her home.

University of Arizona honors college student Kara Dunn suddenly became sick on June 5. She was suffering from the effects of Guillan-Barre syndrome, a rare autoimmune disorder that batters the peripheral nervous system.

The Horizon Honors High School Phoenix graduate also came down with pneumonia and was put on ventilator. She was taken off the ventilator Monday afternoon.

Her brother, Ryan Dunn, a medical student who was with her in Spain, set up a GoFundMe page to raise the money to bring her home safely via air evacuation. Insurance would cover most of her treatment, leaving the family scrambling to cover transportation and physical therapy, among other related expenses.

They’re trying to raise $50,000. The post went up Sunday and by early the next afternoon they had about $24,000.

Ryan Dunn wrote:

The onset of the disorder was very sudden. Just the night before, Kara started feeling ill and had tingling sensations in her hands and face. She decided to sleep it off but woke up the next morning unable to move. At the hospital, she was sedated and intubated for severe pneumonia, which further complicated her condition. …

All we want is for Kara to be able to come home and get the best treatment available so she can regain her strength.

Symptoms range from tingling and weakness in the legs to the same symptoms spreading to the arms and body to life-threatening paralysis, which can cause breathing to shut down.

“She’s made progress every day,” Sarah Schwyhart, a friend of Kara Dunn’s, told Tucson News Now.

Kara Dunn recently completed her sophomore year and was on track to graduate in 2020.

She graduated high school in 2016, earning a Flinn scholarship, of which only about 20 are awarded to undergraduate students who attend one of the state’s three public universities.

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