One small mosquito bite changed Lawancia Williams’ life in a matter of hours. She was at work when she started vomiting and feeling nauseous and went to the hospital to get checked out. There, after multiple tests, she was diagnosed with West Nile Virus, a rare condition that can lead to swelling in the brain and in some cases cause paralysis. Within 24 hours, Lawancia returned to the hospital without the ability to move her legs, arms and hands.

Regarding the severity of Lawancia’s diagnosis, Dr. Devin Troyer, medical director at Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Columbia, stated “…sometimes they have very little symptoms. Sometimes they just have flu-like symptoms. But to actually have involvement where they have paralysis and weakness and brain involvement, that’s pretty rare.”

She turned to Encompass Health Columbia to help her restore strength and function. A year later, she is still recovering but remains hopeful.

“I just want to be myself again. Sometimes I don’t feel like myself because I know what my limitations are and what I can’t do. I just want to be able to do those normal things that I could do in the past,” stated Lawancia.