Patient Stories

Shane Sumlin

Shane Sumlin

“I REALLY want folks to know, they are NOT ALONE.”

We sat down with GBS survivor, volunteer and member of our board of directors Shane Sumlin, to find out more about his positive outlook, what motivates him, and what he’d really like the community to know. Here’s what Shane had to say:

Shane, when did you get involved with the Foundation and why?

In 2014, 2 and 1/2 years after diagnosis, I was approached by a high school student who wanted to do his Senior Project on Guillain Barre Syndrome.  We ended up hosting an awareness event at his high school and all of the proceeds went to the GBS|CIDP Foundation.  That was my first interaction with the Foundation and I was so impressed by the staff, vision, and willingness of the Foundation to help with my first event, I had to learn more.

What has been your greatest lesson along this journey?

Our family’s greatest lesson along this 12-year journey is patience.  The process of recovery is slow and it can be mentally and emotionally exhausting. Patience is a hard lesson and takes time to accept. The Foundation uses symbol of the turtle, which at first seemed strange, but it is actually the ideal choice, it will reach its destiny in its own time, just get out of its way.  Kind of a metaphor for life in general come to think of it! Patience has been a silver lining and can be a wonderful tool for many challenges in life, if you let it.

How has your family and community reacted to your condition?

The outpouring of support from family and friends has been humbling.  From the beginning, all of our friends and family have supported us through encouraging words, helping us at home when I couldn’t do anything, and supporting our efforts of involvement with the Foundation.  They have been overwhelming in support of our two GBS Walks in our 2016 Dallas walk and most recently in attending the 2023 Washington D.C. Walk.  They always show up and give. 

You are the originator of the new Foundation programming for men. Why did you feel men needed their own coffee chat, and how has that been going?

The men’s coffee chat came as a surprise area of need in our community. Over the past few years, I realized I didn’t deal with the trauma of my diagnosis and I needed a group of people who understood.  Through my need, I found out other men needed to talk about their journey as well. If I am honest, I have been so excited about these calls and they have been very well received and attended so far. You just never know what someone else is going through.

What would you most like to share with the community.

I would really like folks to know they are not alone. There is a big community out here that can support you with almost anything you might need. Reach out, get involved, you won’t regret it, I sure don’t.