19-year-old athlete learning to walk again after being paralyzed by rare disease

A 19-year-old athlete is learning to walk again after contracting a disease so rare that doctors don't know how she got it.

Brooke Kellett is one of the few people who have been diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome.

"It was my birthday on December 31 and my legs locked up and I couldn't walk," Kellett said.

Within days, the star athlete and an MMA fighter was paralyzed from the neck down.

"Basically, the body has tried to attack the lining of her nerves so the nerves aren't able to process as fast as they normally would," Dr. Nick Anderson said.

One doctor told Brooke that it is possible that she got the disease by eating contaminated food. However, other doctors, including Dr. Anderson, say it’s nearly impossible to determine exactly how she got it.

"It's hard to pinpoint one specific thing," Dr. Anderson said.

Regardless of the reason, Brooke is determined to heal.

"My biggest goal is to start walking and take care of my family," Kellett said.

She's using a new therapy device called "LiteGait" to help her get there.

"With this, we are able to get them up sooner, we are able to work those muscles that have become weak," Director of Nursing Adene Smith said.

Brooke gets to leave the acute rehab center at CoxHealth Branson next week, but she has a long road ahead. Doctors say she could make a full recovery.

Kellett says it is memory of her mother that means the most as she journeys forward.

"The fact that I lost her a year and a half ago means that I have to do everything for her," Kellett said.

Brooke says after walking on her own again, her next goal is to get back on the ring and continue with mixed martial arts.

Read the original version of this article at www.ky3.com.