Teen recovers from Guillain-Barré syndrome, excited to run in Dec. 12 Kent Christmas Rush

Gage Sinclair was in a hospital bed and unable to walk three months ago. So when Sinclair, 13, participates in the city of Kent's 27th annual Christmas Rush Fun Run and Walk Saturday, it will help mark an end to a painful and challenging period in his life, and that of his family.

Gage Sinclair

Gage Sinclair

Gage Sinclair was in a hospital bed and unable to walk three months ago.

So when Sinclair, 13, participates in the city of Kent's 27th annual Christmas Rush Fun Run and Walk Saturday, it will help mark an end to a painful and challenging period in his life, and that of his family.

“It's going to be incredible,” said his mom Diane Sinclair, about getting to watch her oldest child compete in the 5-K run. “I can't wait to see him finish. It's a nice way to end all of this.”

Doctors at the Mary Bridge Children's Hospital in Tacoma told Sinclair, 13, in mid-September that he had Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare disorder in which the body's immune system attacks part of the peripheral nervous system. The peripheral nervous system connects the limbs and organs to the central nervous system, run by the brain and spinal cord.

The first symptoms of the illness include weakness or tingling sensations in the legs that can then spread to the arms and upper body. The symptoms can increase in intensity until the muscles cannot be used and the patient is almost totally paralyzed, according to the National Institutes of Health Web site.

“I could not even stand I was so weak,” Sinclair said Thursday at Kent View Elementary, a Christian school in Auburn where his mother works as an administrative assistant. “Everything below my neck was sensitive to even a breeze.”

Sinclair, a seventh-grade student at Rainier Christian Middle School in Covington, felt more tired than usual after a soccer practice in early September. He started to get weaker and weaker over the next couple of weeks. He had the flu, but something else had hit him much worse than the flu.

“I would step on things and feel a pain up my leg,” said Sinclair, of Enumclaw.

Diane Sinclair could tell things were not right with her son.

“It was getting worse and worse,” she said. “He was not walking properly. We called our doctor and were told to take him to the emergency room.”

Doctors ran tests for a couple of days before they determined that Sinclair had Guillain-Barré syndrome. Doctors ran a nerve conduction study, in which electricity is sent through the body to help determine the functioning of the peripheral nerves.

“That was horrible,” Gabe Sinclair said of the pain from the test.

Doctors treated Sinclair with intravenous immunoglobulin to help his immune system attack the invading organism. There is no known cure for the syndrome, but nearly 70 percent of those struck with the disorder fully recover, according to the National Institutes of Health Web site.

After about eight weeks, Sinclair became a fully recovered patient.

“I woke up one morning and I was better,” Sinclair said about the weekend before Thanksgiving. “My sensitivity and my strength was better. The doctor had said I could wake up one day and be totally better.”

Most people reach the stage of greatest weakness within the first two weeks after symptoms appear. Ninety percent of patients are at their weakest by the third week of the illness. The recovery period may be as little as a few weeks or as long as a few years, according to NIH.

“It could have gone on longer,” Diane Sinclair said. “Now he has the same chance of anyone else to get it again.”

Sinclair, who used a walker for a while, missed six weeks of school. He had to quit the soccer team and couldn't turn out for basketball. He hopes to join the basketball team later in the season and turn out in the spring for track and baseball.

On Saturday, Sinclair will run with his father, Derek, as well as his sister, Lexi, 11, and brother Cole, 9. Gabe Sinclair ran his first 5K races last summer in Federal Way and at the Kent Cornucopia Days.

“I'm curious to see how I will do,” Sinclair said. “I'm a little nervous, but I'm really excited. I haven't run (a race) for a while, so I will find out if I still have the endurance.”

Because of his ordeal over the last few months, the teenager no longer takes everything in life for granted.

“It's a big relief,” Sinclair said of getting through the illness. “I look at simple things differently, like walking, running and jumping. I am really thankful just to walk.”

Christmas Rush run, walk is Saturday

Runners and walkers can sign up for the city of Kent's 27th annual Christmas Rush Fun Run and Walk online or even the morning of the race.

The 10-K run starts at 9:50 a.m. Saturday followed by a 5-K run or walk at 10 a.m.

Registration starts at 8 a.m. Saturday at the Riverbend Golf Course parking lot, 2019 W. Meeker St. Race participants can park at Russell Road Park, 24400 Russell Road.

Pre-register online at www.active.com (enter Kent, WA in search) or call the city at 253-856-5050.

The registration fee is $20 for the run or walk and $25 with a T-shirt.

More than 1,000 runners and walkers are expected to participate, said Mark Hendrickson, city cultural programs coordinator.

“We have over 1,000 entries and anywhere between 100 to 150 sign up the day of the race depending on the weather,” Hendrickson said.

City officials changed the course this year because of the giant sandbags placed along the Green River Trail to combat flooding.

The run starts at the Riverbend Golf Course, goes down Meeker Street to Frager Road and heads north to about South 212th Street before returning along Frager Road to head back to the golf course.

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@kentnews.us.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://kentnews.us/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

8 Kent high school students participate in Rotary leadership conference

Students selected for their potential to be leaders and dedication to community service

Passenger turns out to be driver in crash that killed Kent woman

State Patrol reportedly determines new information in June 2 multivehicle collision in Seattle

Civil suit against Kent School District, board moves forward

Efforts continue to end resolution that excludes one board member from all labor contract talks

Firefighters put on special suits to stop chlorine gas leak in Kent

Leak stopped Wednesday, June 12 from tanks at city well on East Hill; nobody injured

Kentridge High School. COURTESY PHOTO, Kent School District
Weapon found Wednesday, June 12 at Kentridge High School

Campus put in lockdown during incident; principal says no direct threat to students or staff

Free summer meals to start June 24 in Kent School District

Meals available for children 18 and under at select schools, apartments, parks and community centers

Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent. FILE PHOTO
Man faces assault charge after attack at Kent auto repair shop

Dispute over lack of payment for repairs reportedly led to man punching, kicking employee in head

Kent Police Blotter: May 28 to June 10

Incidents include robberies at Walgreens, 7-Eleven; assaults, shots fired

Kent School District's Class of 2024 high school graduates | Photos

Kent-Meridian, Kentlake, Kentridge, Kentwood, Kent Laboratory Academy graduated last weekend

Renton Police respond June 5 to a fatal shooting outside the Big 5 Sporting Goods store on South Grady Way. COURTESY PHOTO, Renton Police
Man charged in killing of Kent teen outside Renton sporting goods store

Off-duty security officer reportedly fired at least seven shots at Kent-Meridian High student

King County's MLK distinguished service award goes to Kent's Shamso Issak

Councilmember Dave Upthegrove selects Living Well Kent director for the honor

Renton man sentenced for 2021 murder in Kent parking lot

Receives 30-year sentence for shooting Avery Wilcox Jr.