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Utah man battling rare disease stranded in Nepal

Posted at 5:49 PM, Apr 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-17 00:43:41-04

LEHI, Utah — Stranded in Nepal while battling a rare neurological disease, one Utah veteran is struggling to find his way home.

Brandy Nelson said her brother, William Fackrell, has always been one to serve — from his time as a scout to his time in the military.

“He would give you the shirt off of his back,” said Nelson.

Eighteen months ago, Fackrell decided to try a new uniform. He traveled from Utah to Nepal to study Buddhism.

“The conditions there are definitely different from here,” said Nelson.

The siblings have used social media to keep in contact, until just a few days ago.

“This was what he looked like the day that I told him I love him,” said Nelson. It was the day before her brother was put on a ventilator.

In late March, Fackrell had told his sister he was feeling sick.

When he woke up the next morning, Nelson said her brother couldn’t move.

“He’s not able to close his eyes,” she said.

Not able to eat, speak or walk, Fackrell was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome — a rare neurological disorder where the body’s immune system attacks the nervous system.

Fackrell is paralyzed and stranded a world away.

In the meantime, his family is struggling to find and afford an airplane with the correct medical equipment and staff that can bring Fackrell home.

“He can’t fly on any other plane because of his condition,” said Nelson. “He needs to be on a ventilator.”

The cost of an air ambulance is too overwhelming for Fackrell’s family. Temporarily, they've decided to send Fackrell’s son to Nepal to be in the hospital with him.

“His three kids are struggling,” said Nelson.

Though the care in Nepal is keeping Fackrell alive, Nelson wants to have her brother home again and not pay out of pocket for healthcare every day.

“I spoke with him before he was put on the ventilator,” said Nelson. “I told him we wanted him home and he shook his head yes.”

The recovery and physical therapy for GBS can take anywhere from one to three years.

The family has reached out to Utah’s senators in hopes to receive some assistance in bringing Fackrell home.

There is a GoFundMe set up for Fackrell and his family to help cover medical expenses.