Dillan Pierce turned a trial into a triumph after finding himself in a very unlikely place for a college student: an intensive care unit (ICU) unable to walk.
Pierce, a member of Georgia Tech’s rowing team club, began experiencing medical issues during spring training.
He was taken to the hospital where he spent a month in the ICU. He was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome, an incredibly rare neurological disorder where the body’s immune system mistakenly starts attacking the peripheral nervous system.
And the challenge was far from over for the chemical engineering student.
“I spent about a week at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta along with eight weeks of outpatient physical therapy to relearn how to walk.”
Pierce also had to relearn how to perform most everyday tasks.
The cause of Guillain-Barré syndrome is unknown, and doctors still have no idea why it attacks particular patients, although it is not contagious or inherited.
Pierce had run Atlanta’s iconic Peachtree Road Race before, but this year’s edition was even more special considering he wasn’t even able to walk in April.
“I had a lot of support from the Georgia Tech crew team and my family [throughout] my recovery,” Pierce says.
Pierce was captured in a photo shared by the Peachtree Road Race on Facebook, running with the D-wave.
His journey continues as he trains to return to competition with the crew team.
“I still have a bit before I’m able to compete again.”
But he’s well on his way.