Warning: This article contains images that some viewers may find disturbing.
Kevin Breen's life was actually going really well. He was the happy father of three kids and he had a beautiful, loving wife — he never could have imagined the dismal fate that was waiting for him. But when Kevin fell ill with what appeared to be a harmless infection, everything suddenly changed.
In 2016, a couple of days before Christmas, he came down with something that looked like the flu.
When his condition deteriorated, his family took him to the nearest hospital. The doctors were baffled at first because he still seemed to have a straightforward flu, yet his symptoms kept getting worse and worse.
As he began to suffer organ failure, the medical staff panicked, still searching for a diagnosis. Kevin himself tried to stay optimistic.
The infection had spread throughout Kevin's body — even into the stomach, where it was particularly difficult to fight. An ultrasound showed a quart and a half of pus built up in his abdominal cavity. Meanwhile, his kidneys were failing and he had to be attached to a dialysis machine. His limbs looked continually worse.
It was too late to save the tissue that had already died. Parts of Kevin's arms and legs would have to be amputated. He had lost almost all feeling in his hands and feet. There were moments when the medical team didn't know if he would make it, but he kept hanging on. At last, when he was finally out of danger, he was allowed to recover at home with Julie and the kids while awaiting the necessary operations.
Ultimately he will lose his whole left hand, several fingers from the right hand, and both feet.
Who would have thought that what started out as a child's strep throat infection could morph into such a dangerous illness? (This is one of the reasons that it's actually hugely important to take antibiotics when you have strep throat!) It was only through incredibly good luck that Kevin survived at all.
In the meantime, a friend of the family started a wildly successful GoFundMe page to raise money for the operations and to support the family through this time.
Kevin and his family have a long road ahead of them, but it looks like they have a fantastic, courageous attitude and a lot of community support. Despite the terrible blow they've suffered, their story is certainly evidence that — together with great perseverance — the love of friends and family is simply invaluable.