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

A map released by the BCCDC on Jan. 15 shows the number of new COVID-19 cases reported for each local health area between Jan. 3 and 9. (BCCDC Image)
Salmon Arm and Vernon see increase in new COVID cases, curve flattening elsewhere

The rate of new cases is levelling off in Kelowna, Penticton and Revelstoke.

The Premier Hotel on Summerland’s Main Street and the taxi were owned by Bill and Lydia Johnston. Today, the building is Sass Fashions in Summerland. H.S. Kenyon, who moved the building to Summerland from Midway, continued with building construction. His family now operates Greyback Construction. (Photo courtesy of the Summerland Museum)
Two former Summerland hotel buildings have been moved over the years

Transport of buildings is part of community’s history

Interior Health update. File photo.
86 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

The new deaths are from Heritage Square, a long-term care facility in Vernon

Caroline McKay
COLUMN: Bring books out of hibernation for the new year

Plenty of lesser-known works from famous authors available from the library

The trailer’s occupant fled the scene of the fire because he was afraid, officials were told. 
(Andrea DeMeer- Spotlight)
Princeton trailer fire deemed not suspicious

Man fled the scene because he was afraid, officials were told

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

The organizer of a Kelowna protest against COVID-19 restrictions was fined by the RCMP for the third time Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19: Organizer of Kelowna anti-restriction protest ticketed for third time

The individual’s latest ticket for $2,300 was handed out by RCMP at an anti-lockdown rally Saturday

Mount Boucherie Secondary School is one of three Kelowna schools with confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to an update from the school district Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19 confirmed at 3 Kelowna schools

Interior Health has confirmed exposures at Mount Boucherie, Springvalley and South Rutland schools

Half of the most expensive homes are on 2080 Mackenzie Crt, which is across the street from Revelstoke Mountain Resort. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
The 10 most valuable homes in Revelstoke for 2020

Combined, the properties are worth more than $35M

Lake Country native Evan-Riley Brown is in the cast for the new film Journey To Royal: A WW II Rescue Mission to be released on video on demand and streaming services on Feb. 2. (Contributed)
Okanagan actor lands role in WW II movie

Evan-Riley Brown, from Lake Country, cast in production labelled as hybrid of a feature film and documentary called Journey To Royal: a WW II Rescue Mission.

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
More than 20 days have passed since the last case of COVID-19 was confirmed at Lakeside Manor. (File photo)
Salmon Arm retirement facility reopens social areas after COVID-19

More than 20 days have passed since last confirmed case at Lakeside Manor

A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Most Read