The fall of 2004 was an exciting time for Mike Cornelius and his daughters Becky and Rachael. Becky was going to college in Madison and 16-year-old Rachael would be a junior at Rhinelander High School. But on August 12, as Mike was helping his oldest daughter move into the dorms in Madison, he received a phone call from the Oneida County Sheriff's Department telling him that Rachael was involved in a very serious motor vehicle crash.
On February 12, 2005, Wisconsin Rapids resident Jim McConnell came face-to-face with a little-known condition called Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), a reversible condition that affects the nerves in the body. It is rare; only two in every 100,000 people have it. GBS can result in muscle weakness, pain, and even temporary paralysis of the facial, chest, and leg muscles.
Just ask Knute Wallin of Greenwood, a retired high school biology teacher and principal, and an avid hunter and fisherman. He also was well known for being an emcee and entertainer. He and his son and brother-in-law were in demand for many banquets and parties, where they'd play banjos and guitars, and tell jokes.
By all reaches of the imagination, Gary Natvig, a 56-year-old resident of Waukesha, is lucky to be alive. On May 28, 2005, Natvig was traveling with his son and two others to his niece's high school graduation. All four were on separate motorcycles, and the trip was going smoothly, until disaster struck.
The past five years of Sharon Riedel's life have been a roller coaster ride of health issues. Riedel, 67, of Wisconsin Rapids, suffered a stroke about five years ago. Then, in 2001, she underwent heart bypass surgery at Ministry Saint Joseph's Hospital. Last June, 2005, she suffered a second stroke. She is diabetic, and experiences neuropathy, a nerve disorder that causes pain and numbness in her hands. She also encounters periodic tremors in her hands, which she attributes to the neuropathy and her second stroke.