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

Vernon Fire Rescue Services and Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP were called to a report of an electrical fire at the emergency response centre operated by Turning Points Collaborative Society on 37th Street Sunday, Oct. 18, just before 5:30 p.m. The fire displaced shelter residents who have been set up with services at the Vernon Recreation Complex. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
UPDATE: Vernon shelter residents find refuge in hotels, motels, recreation complex after fire

Electrical fire at Turning Points Collaborative Society’s emergency response centre on 37th Street

Rotary Club members Bernard and Brenda Dewonck, left, and club president Sandy Wightman, far right, present Food Bank president Kim Sylvestre, centre, with bags and baskets representing their $3,333.33 donation. (Contributed)
Lake Country food bank gets $3,333.33 boost

Three lucky winners of Rotary Club raffle gave needed support to food bank amid pandemic

Fire truck (File photo)
Firefighters respond to large Coldstream burnpile

Blaze reported as a grass fire, actually just a fall burn

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan photo)
Suspect driving stolen vehicle rams two Lake Country RCMP cruisers

Pontiac reported stolen from Vernon area; suspect not located

The Greater Vernon Chamber handed out its Business Excellence Awards at a Godfather-themed gala in 2019. (Photo: SPROING; styling from Caravan Farm Theatre)
Vernon Chambers celebrates Small Business Week

Webinars and events scheduled to boost small business

A puppy is cared for at the Kelowna BC SPCA. Image: BC SPCA
Puppy recovers from virus after being seized from Princeton farm

The pup was one of the 97 animals seized by the BC SPCA in September

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Police confirm human remains were found in a recycling bin in Vancouver on Oct. 18, 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Human remains found in recycling bin floating near Vancouver beach

Police asking nearby residents to see if their recycling bin has gone missing

A file photo of an RCMP dog. (Campbell River RCMP photo)
Lawsuit claims Kelowna man suffered ‘vicious’ attack by RCMP dog, handler

Fernando Verde claims he was resuscitated at the hospital and needed emergency surgery following the attack

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson visits a North Vancouver daycare to announce his party’s election promises for child care, Oct. 9, 2020. (B.C. Liberal Party video)
B.C. parties pitch costly child care programs in pandemic

B.C. Liberals say they’ll deliver on NDP’s $10-a-day promise for lower-income families

A B.C. man decided to create a website to help people find family doctors accepting patients. Because Victoria is considered high-demand, clinic openings can’t be posted publicly. (Unsplash)
Vancouver Island man starts website that connects B.C. residents with doctors

Nanaimo man started project to help people find family physicians accepting patients

Gambletron, along with Johnny Forever Nawracaj and Enderby’s own Zev Tiefenbach, are featured in the Build Up pop-up exhibition and performance extended today, Oct. 19 at the Caetani Centre. (Contributed)
Exhibit pops up for another day in Vernon

Caetani Centre extends sound installation after sold-out weekend

Voting station at Tzeachten Hall in the riding of Chilliwack-Kent on the first day of advance voting in the provincial election on Oct. 15, 2020. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. VOTES 2020: 380,000 British Columbians head to polls in first 4 days of advance voting

Some of highest voter turnout so far has been seen on Vancouver Island and in Shuswap

Most Read