My name is Aledawi Figueroa, but everybody calls me Widy. I am from Isabela, Puerto Rico. I’m currently 34 years old. I am happily married with my husband Obeth Soto. We have 2 children, Alanis Valeria who is 7 and Obeth Julián who is 1 year old. I studied Business Administration, majoring in Industrial Management and Human Resources. After I finished college I continued studying Education, which is my passion, concentrating in Special Education. I love personalized instruction so I founded Smile Again Learning Center, Corp in 2005. Here we offer tutoring, English and Spanish courses, test prep reviews, among other services. I love spending time with my family, reading and helping others. I’ve always worked with youth groups in church and together with my husband we give motivational talks to groups and couples. My favorite quote is “what is darkness for you today can be light for others tomorrow”; meaning that no matter how hard you’re having it today, you can be sure that your experience will help someone tomorrow.
This is exactly what GBS confirmed in my life. In November 2013, me and my family were living a dream come true. I was finally pregnant with my second baby, this time a baby boy. Alanis had asked for a brother ever since she was able to talk and her prayers had finally been heard. We were all excited because the pregnancy was going perfect. In February 2014, 18 weeks into my pregnancy, my hands and feet started feeling numb and tingly. I texted my doctor and she said it could be from water retention due to pregnancy. But a couple of days later symptoms started getting worse, my tongue started feeling tingly, as well, and I could no longer walk on my own. That’s when I fell to the ground while taking some pre-baby pictures with my family.
At this point my husband knew that it wasn’t water retention and we called the doctor. She asked to see me the very next day and called in a neurologist and I was diagnosed with GBS. I got treated in the hospital with immunoglobulin and was transferred to a rehab center. I couldn’t be given any pain killers because I was pregnant, so I went through it all with the help of God, my family, my friends, prayers from many many people, and my set goal to be able to walk when my baby was due in July 2014. After many therapies and exercises, most of them in a pool in order not to put pressure on the baby, I was able to walk and hold my baby when he was born. It was a tough journey but I’ve always felt that it was a blessing from God. I have faith that God has a purpose for everything and that everything happens for a reason. With this life changing experience I have been able to help many people, some with GBS syndrome and others that are facing tough challenges in life, and I hope to be able to help many many more.