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Editors note: This article was originally published on Deseret News.

Not even a month into his missionary service in Leeds, England, 19-year-old Joey Cottrell found himself weak, tired and unable to climb stairs.

When Elder Joey Cottrell’s parents first received a call from the LDS mission president, doctors had not yet determined the cause of their son’s fatigue.

“The first thing we did is hit our knees and pleaded with our higher power to somehow strengthen Joe and everybody that’s involved,” said Shane Cottrell, Joey’s father. “This whole thing really, really, wakes you up to what’s important in life.”

Doctors in the United Kingdom diagnosed him with Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare disorder where the immune system attacks the nerves. Breathing became more difficult. He could not move his legs. He had difficulty moving his arms.

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