A WOMAN who was struck by a mystery illness last summer which resulted in her being put in an induced coma and on a ventilator for over a year is fundraising for alterations to a new bungalow so she can return home to her family.

Carol Ryan, from Richmond, became ill last summer when she woke up to find her left hand became less able to grip.

She said: "It all happened very quickly. It started with my left hand, and I initially thought it might be a sort of stroke.

"I went to the doctors and nothing was picked up so I was sent home. The next morning I just collapsed – my left leg wasn't working at all."

Ms Ryan rushed to hospital with her fiancé Daragh, but tests remained inconclusive.

She said: "A friend of mine suffered from Guillain-Barre Syndrome, about 30 years ago, but the symptoms were similar. I asked them to test for it, and came back positive."

The rare autoimmune disorder causes the sufferer’s immune system to attacks healthy nerve cells.

Despite being taken to James Cook University Hospital for more specialist treatment, Ms Ryan said she ended up pleading with doctors to put her into an induced coma to free her from the pain.

"I don't remember anything else, but my family said after five days I came out of it and I couldn't move at all – I couldn't speak and could only move my eyes.

"It was terrifying, for me but also for my three children and nine grandchildren."

Ms Ryan was on a medical ventilator for more than 13 months and still needs assistance to breathe overnight. She then began the slow process of learning to talk again and is still paralysed from the waist down.

She has slight movement in her arms and as such requires intense physiotherapy and rehabilitation, as well as numerous adaptations needed at her home in order to be able to come home.

She said: "I have come a long way in my recovery but there is still a long way to go. We are in the process of buying a bungalow as I couldn't go back to my old house, but it will still need alterations.

"Our friend Richard Jenkins is holding a fundraising event at the Farmers' Arms, Scorton, on November 23 at 7pm.

"It is overwhelming to think I have such support from friends and family. As difficult as this has been for me, I think it has been much worse for my family who have had to see me be so ill."

Mr Jenkins, who is organising the fundraiser, said: "We would greatly appreciate any donation, raffle or auction price to help get Carol home and raise awareness of this unheard of illness and help others suffering from this syndrome." Contact richie.jenks85@hotmail.com.