Long before Mary Batar opened the door to Jacob Newton’s hospital room, she opened the door to his heart.
Photo: ActionNewsJax.com
Photo: ActionNewsJax.com

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Long before Mary Batar opened the door to Jacob Newton’s hospital room, she opened the door to his heart.

“I had a little idea something was going on," Batar said

What’s been going on for these parents of three small children is a sudden and scary situation for Newton.

"Whenever I first woke up, I was in instant shock. I was scared to death," Newton said. 

Twenty-two days ago, Newton was feeling numbness and muscle spasms below his waist and went to Orange Park Medical Center.

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There, he was diagnosed with a condition called Guillain-Barre syndrome. Dr. Vorbes Aleger says GBS is a rare disorder that quickly attacks the nervous system. It can be triggered by a bacterial or viral infection, according to Dr. Aleger. 

"He has worked extremely hard. He was very motivated,” Dr. Aleger said. 

Following intensive rehab that included taking up to 60 steps at a time, Newton wanted to take a leap – or a stand – with the advice of his physical therapists: "Why don’t you stand up? She hasn’t seen you stand up. That’s an awesome idea."

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With the help of the hospital and friends, they arranged to have Batar show up for a visit. This time there would be rose petals, a red carpet and candles.

"I noticed his walker was in front of him and I'm like, 'What’s about to happen?'" Batar said. 

As the mother of his children walked through the door, Newton stood up (instead of getting down on one knee), produced a ring and popped the question, "So, will you marry me?"

Batar's answer: “Yes."

It's a love the two know will stand the test of time.

Newton wanted to share his story to spread awareness and help others catch the early symptoms of GBS.

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