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Fitness fanatic Hayley Bray from Deal may never know why she has been left paralysed

A fitness fanatic left paralysed while working in Ibiza may never know why it's happened.

Hayley Bray from Deal had been working in a nursery within a 5* Spanish hotel for three months when she was admitted to hospital with what was thought to be a urine tract infection on June 12.

Before Hayley Bray fell ill, she loved travelling and fitness
Before Hayley Bray fell ill, she loved travelling and fitness

But within 48 hours the 26-year-old from Deal had lost all feeling in her arms and legs and was heavily sedated.

Now in a UK hospital and still with no explanation, the former Dover Grammar School for Girls pupil and her family have launched a £25,000 fundraising campaign to pay towards her rehabilitation.

Her younger sister Sadie Bray, 24, said: "We just have no idea what we're dealing with so you can't prepare.

"You can't look at other cases and stories. We're just dealing with the unknown.

"After 10 weeks of tests and samples, doctors have told us that 99% of these results have been negative. It's crazy that we might never know."

Hayley Bray was left paralysed and heavily sedated within 48 hours of seeking medical assistance for what she thought was a UTI
Hayley Bray was left paralysed and heavily sedated within 48 hours of seeking medical assistance for what she thought was a UTI

Sadie, who lives in Leeds, and has a different mother to Hayley, describes her sister as her best friend. Even while away, they would speak daily. She has been by her side everyday since.

She recalls: "Hayley messaged me on the Wednesday saying, 'It's really bizarre, I didn't sleep last night. I felt like my bones really hurt.'

"I said she should go to the doctors but she wanted to go to work."

Hayley went into work but her employer, travel company TUI, instructed her to leave work and seek medical attention.

Sadie added: "At the hospital her symptoms progressed rapidly. She couldn't sit up. In just 48 hours it took over her body and by the Friday she was paralysed."

But as this happened Sadie and her family had been unable to communicate with Hayley meaning they were unaware of her condition and location.

Sisters Sadie and Hayley Bray are best friends
Sisters Sadie and Hayley Bray are best friends

Feeling concerned, Sadie scoured through Hayley's Instagram friends' list in search of any familiar names who might be able to give re-assurance.

Eventually she found Hayley's manager who informed them of the seriousness of her condition. Both Sadie and her father Chris Bray, who lives in Bexhill, then flew to Ibiza, arriving on Saturday morning. They were later joined by Hayley's mum Jayne Jones from Deal.

Sadie said: "It was just so awful. When we arrived her manager came to pick us up and said to prepare ourselves, she's got lots of tubes attached to her and she's heavily sedated for her own comfort."

By this time, Hayley's lungs had failed and she was now being supported by a ventilator and also being fed through a tube.

Sadie said: "The doctors said she could hear us. If we spoke to her her heart rate would go up so she knew we were there.

"When she came around she was confused, we just re-assured her and said it's going to take time."

Hayley Bray had been in Ibiza since April 2019 working at a nursery for travel company TUI
Hayley Bray had been in Ibiza since April 2019 working at a nursery for travel company TUI

Hayley was then airlifted to a larger hospital in Majorca, where she received special treatment called Plasma Exchange Therapy - a process that cleans the blood by removing antibodies in the hope of reversing the paralysis.

She experienced some improvement in her arms but it wasn't the result the family or professionals were after. She also suffered a collapsed lung setting her recovery back slightly.

By this point, Hayley was beginning to communicate but it was limited.

Sadie said: "We would have to lip read or we'd spell out the alphabet and she'd nod."

Hayley Bray pictured with her sister Sadie Bray (left) and dad Chris Bray (centre)
Hayley Bray pictured with her sister Sadie Bray (left) and dad Chris Bray (centre)

On July 26, six weeks after Hayley was taken ill, she was flown by private air ambulance back to the UK, arriving at Stansted Airport and then transported by road to Kent and Canterbury Hospital where she remains in intensive care.

Sadie said: "Since returning to England she's made great improvements. She is now breathing on her own and is able to eat a puréed diet.

"Hayley doesn’t yet have the stomach muscles to cough so still has a mini tracheotomy fitted to suction fluid off her lungs.

"She still has no feeling or movement in her legs and requires one to one care throughout the day.

"The amazing physio team are helping to build her muscles back, working on her arms, hands and core.

"Hayley has down days but she'd been absolutely amazing.

"She still cracks jokes and smiles. She's still the bubbly Hayley we all know and she knows she hasn't got to face this on her own."

Hayley Bray, pictured at Kent and Canterbury Hospital, now has feeling back in her right arm
Hayley Bray, pictured at Kent and Canterbury Hospital, now has feeling back in her right arm

Tests at all three hospitals for auto-immune and viral infections have been unable to determine what has happened to Hayley.

She has been told that she faces up to a year in hospital and after that rehabilitation will be needed.

Sadie said: "As a family, we just want the best for Hayley.

"There's a specialist neurological centre in Kent where she would receive 22 hours of intense physio a week and she'd be with people who are all going through the same thing.

"We really want Hayley to feel comfortable where she is."

The centre costs £3,700 a week. Hayley may also need home adaptations and a wheelchair.

Her family launched a JustGiving page on Monday, September 2 which has collected almost £6,000 in four days.

An extra £3,000 has been donated to an American JustGiving page set up by her brother Jamie Bray who lives in New York.

Hayley Bray has been "overwhelmed" by the number of donations she had received
Hayley Bray has been "overwhelmed" by the number of donations she had received

Sadie said: "We're all overwhelmed. Hayley didn't think she'd get many donations but she'd been inundated with messages.

"It's so lovely to know how many people care. We're so grateful."

Fundraising will continue throughout Hayley's time in hospital.

Sadie will be taking on the Yorkshire Three Peaks with friends while Jamie will run the Chicago Marathon on October 13.

To donate, click here or to share a fundraiser idea with the family email saddabray@live.co.uk

Read more:All the latest news from Deal


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