Mother dies of mysterious illness after going to swimming pool
After Stefanie Ballard went swimming in a pool with her two daughters on July 15, she was struck with a mystery illness that paralyzed her, caused her brain to swell, and eventually killed her.
The Atlanta mother first became ill after going to a swimming pool with her 6-year-old and 4-year-old daughters. At first, Ballard thought the disease was the summer flu. However, within days of going to the pool, she became paralyzed.
As Ballard began to deteriorate, doctors were left completely baffled. Tests ruled out a stroke and an aneurysm. Before the doctors were able to find a reasonable diagnosis, Ballard was dead. She died within three weeks of her first symptoms.
Ballard's husband, Pete, announced his wife's death on Sunday on a GoFundMe page he had set up for her. He wrote:
"I wish I had better news, but the sad truth is that the swelling in Stef's brain did not respond to treatment and continued to spread to the point where she went into cardiac arrest yesterday afternoon. We are so grateful for the love that she showered on us, and the wonderful, funny, smart, stylish, and generous person we all knew and loved."
Ballard's death occurred after the inflammation constricted blood vessels in her brain. Pete wrote:
"The swelling constricted the blood vessels in her brain, and the cardiac arrest deprived it of oxygen. They tried to relieve the pressure by inserting a tube into her brain to drain the fluid, but were unable to do so."
Ballard will be missed by many. Our hearts go out to her friends and family. On the fundraising page, Pete wrote of his wife:
"Stefanie is a vibrant wife, mom, small business owner, volunteer, and all around super woman. She loves connecting people together, she's always there to lend a helping hand, and she's never met a stranger."
So far, Pete's GoFundMe campaign has raised more than $60,000. The money will be used to pay for treatment and to support Ballard's family.
Watch this video to learn about a similar mystery disease that causes paralysis:
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