Despite battling Guillain-Barré syndrome, Mareli du Plooy has continued to live out her passion with a new song released in December and a music video on its way
Guillain–Barré syndrome (GBS) causes rapid muscle weakness as the immune system damages the peripheral nervous system. Most GBS patients are able to walk within six months to a year despite some lingering after-effects. For others, like Mareli du Plooy, it can take years to recover.
In August 2014, Mareli fell ill. After a day of feeling very weak, she realised something was wrong when she continuously dropped her food during dinner. Various doctors advised her to go to her hospital if her condition should worsen. She tried to sleep it off. In the early hours of the following morning, on her way to the bathroom, Mareli collapsed. At the hospital she was quickly diagnosed.
“It was quite scary as the doctors told me, my lungs will collapse, but with the trauma, I blanked out,” she explains. She doesn’t remember much else aside waking up unable to move apart from her eyes. She was in this state for three months before slowly improving. Her traumatic experience inspired her latest song: After the War.
“This is my proudest work and the most personal. It was released in December and we are working on the music video at the moment. I’m very excited,” Mareli says. She wrote the song herself. “When I wake up and find I’m not what I use to be, I break piece by piece”, the single mother sings.
Her music is available on Souncloud and iTunes. She also has a Facebook page where she frequently posts short clips of her singing. Her first CD, launched in 2010, is also for sale on the Facebook page. Although she is very busy with work as a financial adviser, Mareli always makes time for her passion, performing at various events, including a wedding in September.
“I love what I do, but if I could choose I would pick singing,” she says as she slowly backs up to the microphone to perform Tracy Chapman, and Simon and Garfunkel.