CRESTVIEW — "Even if there is no cure, I just want to know what it is," says Britainy Pate, a 27-year-old mother of three, struggling with a mysterious illness that has paralyzed her from the waist down. She also has lost feeling in her right arm. Pate has set up a foundation to help with her medical bills. In the future, she said, she hopes it also can help others without health insurance.
Britainy Pate wears a smile despite ongoing challenges this past year.
The 27-year-old mother of three has been wheelchair bound since June following mysterious paralysis. Now, she seeks financial aid to find the problem’s root.
She started a non-profit organization, Britainy Will Walk Again Foundation Inc., and said all proceeds will cover her medical expenses. However, after her problems are resolved, she hopes the non-profit can help others with similar situations.
The goal is to raise $7,000; so far, $500 has been collected.
Britainy — let go from her job after losing feeling in her legs — lost feeling in her right arm on Sept. 9.
"I was in church, when it happened .... I felt a tingling sensation going up my arm, before it went numb,” she said.
She also received a couple of days’ treatment at North Okaloosa Medical Center following respiratory failure. She has sought doctors willing to take her case, but it’s been difficult without health insurance.
Still, through it all, she stays positive.
"I'm sad, but I still try to keep a smile on my face," Britainy said. "No matter what you go through in life, you can still put a smile on your face."
Some things have improved since the News Bulletin first reported on her situation. Several residents lent a helping hand — among them, Ruth Jenkins, owner and physical therapist at Manual Therapy LLC in Crestview.
“I've been following up with Britainy and encouraging her, making sure she gets the help that she needs,” Jenkins said.
In addition, Bryant Pate no longer carries his wife up and down stairs from their previous second-floor apartment. Property managers found a ground-level apartment for the Pate family, which includes Alexandria, 2; Annastasia, 4; and Xavier, 14. Xavier is Bryant’s son from a previous relationship. The family also cares for Bryant's 87-year-old father, James.
"We have been in the new apartment for about a month now," Britainy said. "Life is now ten times easier."
Newlin Carter, her father, built a wooden ramp outside the apartment, making it easier for her get outside.
Diara Scott, a former Crestview resident, reached out to help her friend after learning about her situation on Facebook.
"It just broke my heart,” said Scott, a nutritional coordinator for St. Vincent's Medical Center in Jacksonville. Scott spoke to several officials at the medical center, namely Dr. David Chabolla, a neurological specialist.
The Pates traveled to Jacksonville on Oct.4 to run several tests, trying to determine what keeps Britainy from walking or using her right arm. A News Bulletin reporter couldn’t reach Chabolla for comment by deadline.
Britainy — who anticipates learning the test results and uncovering her ailment — said her family will return to the Jacksonville center on Oct. 24.
"To me, its closure," she said. "Even if there is no cure, I just want to know what it is."
Scott stays optimistic.
"I have faith that Britainy will walk again," she said. "God can heal all things."