"It was just bang, I woke up and I was paralysed"

05 Sep 2023
"It was just bang, I woke up and I was paralysed"

Carlo Onorato was a fit, young Adelaide man who went to bed healthy – and woke up paralysed.

As a soccer-mad 20-year-old barber, Adelaide’s Carlo Onorato was loving life until one ordinary night when he went to bed but woke up unable to walk.

In the few hours between his head hitting the pillow, the active young man who enjoyed “hanging out with mates … going to the gym, working on cars and playing video games” had lost the use of his legs.

Now 25, he’s a C6 quadriplegic and still finds the randomness of what happened to him hard to comprehend.

Mr Onorato was struck down, without warning, by a rare inflammatory disease of the spinal cord called transverse myelitis.

The cruel condition, for which there is no cure, can happen spontaneously without any known cause and cause permanent paralysis.

“I woke up and went to use the bathroom and realised I couldn’t get up as I couldn’t move my legs … ,” he said. “I was in pain and didn’t know what was happening, it was just bang, I woke up and I was paralysed.”

After a midnight dash to the emergency department, the Gleeson College old scholar was put in an induced coma and his family told to say goodbye, as the disease’s onset sparked serious complications requiring emergency surgery.

Read the full article published in the Sunday Mail.

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