Matthew’s wife, Ashley, has stood by his side the entire time in hospital with their 1-year-old daughter Ayla. (Submitted photo)

Matthew’s wife, Ashley, has stood by his side the entire time in hospital with their 1-year-old daughter Ayla. (Submitted photo)

B.C. father fights for his life after flu turns into paralyzing condition

Reisig has lost all motor skills with the exception of slight head, shoulder and face movements.

Aldergrove-born Matt Reisig is battling the onset of a rare, paralyzing condition in an Abbotsford ICU after a typical bout with the flu.

In late February, 31-year-old Reisig “had a flu just like the rest of his family,” said Cara Parks, an aunt of the family.

On March 1, the young father woke up in his family’s new home in White Rock with symptoms that progressed from tingling in his legs to a complete collapse onto the floor.

He was taken by ambulance to the Peace Arch Hospital ER and upon arrival diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS).

“When Matt first fell ill, an ER doctor said it was going to be five days of treatment,” Parks explained, but on March 7 Reisig’s condition deteriorated even further and he had to be intubated in order to breathe.

Reisig has now lost all motor skills with the exception of slight head, shoulder and face movements including nodding, eye rolling and side-to-side head motions which he uses to communicate with his wife Ashley.

She has stood by his side the entire time in hospital, with their one-year-old daughter Ayla.

“People really admire the love they share, their connection in this time,” Parks told the Aldergrove Star.

As friends in Grade 5, the couple attended Parkside Elementary School and reconnected after high school. They have now been together for 10 years.

“Ashley made a communication board with letters to help Matt convey what he feels and needs,” Parks elaborated.

Doctors have warned Ashley that Resig’s prognosis is grave and at the very least, will amount to a slow recovery. GBS is a neurological condition where adverse effects take two to four weeks to “peak” before plateauing – Reisig is currently at the two-week mark, Parks said.

The family hopes to raise awareness about GBS – a mysterious inflammatory disorder where the immune system attacks myelin sheath surrounding nerve cell axons instead of the virus the body is sick with, according to Muscular Dystrophy Canada.

There is no known cause for the condition.

“Before this, the family was doing so well. Matt was a very healthy, active guy. He was there for his newborn daughter when she had seizures and for his wife when she faced post-partum depression,” Parks said.

Reisig’s nerve damage now inhibit his muscles from being able to carry out their normal functions.

“We can’t tell how long the recovery is going to be,” Parks said, “could be months or years.”

A GoFundMe account has been set up to offset family expenses as neither parent will be able to work for the foreseeable future as Matt takes slow steps towards recovery.

“Doctors keep having conversations with me to manage my expectations,” Ashley told the Aldergrove Star,“but I’m reaching out in ways I never have because I don’t know what else to do.”

Ashley posts regular status updates to her Facebook, detailing her husband’s condition.

On Monday, she took Ayla to visit her dad at his request.

“I wondered if I should but he needs to remember who he’s fighting this battle for and what he has to look forward to when he comes through it,” the mother posted to Facebook.

Reisig was transferred to the intensive-care unit at Surrey Memorial Hospital and is now undergoing plasmapheresis treatment during his stay at Abbotsford Regional Hospital.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Court of Appeal in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Man convicted of assault, unlawfully confining woman pregnant with his child loses court appeal

Victim tells court he drove her to Guildford parking lot after he’d ‘grabbed’ her neck and she fainted

North Surrey Minor Football players in action. The club is among Surrey-area recipients of the B.C. government’s Local Sport Relief Fund. (File photo)
COVID ‘relief’ funding for some sports groups in Surrey, White Rock, Delta

‘Without financial support, these clubs are at risk of closure,’ says B.C. government

Peter and Stephanie Chung. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Surrey philanthropists presenting $285K in scholarships on Saturday

Drs. Peter and Stephanie Chung over the past nine years have awarded more than 500 students, in memory of their son Joseph

Construction on the main foyer at the soon-to-be opened Clayton Community Centre. (Photo courtesy of HCMA Architecture + Design)
Clayton Community Centre opening delayed again

City says Provincial Health Order reason for latest delay

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Police probe U-Haul trailer linked to illicit drugs left outside Cache Creek motel

Hazardous materials found inside believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

Gem Lake Top, at Big White Ski Resort, seen at Jan. 8. (Big White Ski Resort)
Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

Since November, the ski resort has been forced to make several changes

Darlene Curylo scratched a $3M ticket, BCLC’s largest ever scratch and win prize. (BCLC)
Kelowna woman in shock after winning BCLC’s largest-ever instant-ticket prize

Darlene Curylo couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the amount of money she’d won from a scratch ticket

While each person has different reasons for becoming homeless, a UBCO study shows they learn through their interactions with different services to perform ‘as homeless’ based on the expectations of service providers. (Contributed)
Kelowna homeless forced to ‘perform’ for resources, says UBCO study

One participant in the study said ‘It is about looking homeless, but not too homeless’

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette takes the royal salute from the Guard of Honour as she makes her way deliver the the throne speech, Wednesday, September 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Gov. Gen. Julie Payette resigns, apologizes for ‘tensions’ at Rideau Hall

Payette, who is the Queen’s representative in Canada, has been the governor general since 2017

Grounded WestJet Boeing 737 Max aircraft are shown at the airline’s facilities in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, May 7, 2019. WestJet will operate the first commercial Boeing 737 Max flight in Canada today since the aircraft was grounded in 2019 following two deadly crashes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Passengers unfazed as WestJet returns Boeing 737 Max to service on Vancouver flight

After a lengthy review process, Transport Canada cleared the plane to return to Canadian airspace

The top part of the fossil burrow, seen from the side, with feathery lines from the disturbance of the soil – thought to be caused by the worm pulling prey into the burrow. (Paleoenvironntal Sediment Laboratory/National Taiwan University)
PHOTOS: SFU researchers find evidence of ‘giant’ predatory worms on ocean floor

Fossils found the prove the existence of an ancient Taiwanese worm as long as two metres

Most Read