Martial arts expert, Mitch Gooch, teaches people how to do Kung Fu and martial arts all from his wheelchair. The 36-year-old British man suffers from a rare illness that causes his whole body to feel like “blocks of ice” and has left him disabled.
“I can only describe it as being frozen. You know you can move but you are just unable to. It literally feels like parts of your body are blocks of ice,” Gooch told the Daily Mail.
When Gooch was 24, he woke up one morning fully paralyzed and could not move for a week. The hospital staff previously diagnosed his condition as growing pains before it was revealed he suffered from a rare hereditary illness— Andersen-Tawil syndrome— a type of long QT syndrome.
Andersen-Tawil syndrome is a rare condition and a rare form of periodic paralysis that affects approximately 100 people worldwide. According to the Mayo Clinic, this syndrome can cause episodes of muscle weakness, changes in heart rhythm, and developmental abnormalities. Patients commonly develop physical abnormalities such as a small lower jaw, dental abnormalities, widely spaced eyes, short stature and a curvature of the spine.
There are two types of this rare syndrome. Gooch particularly suffers from type 2 Andersen-Tawil syndrome which accounts for 40 percent of cases but the cause of these cases remains unknown. The cause of type 1 Andersen-Tawil syndrome— accounting for approximately 60 percent of all cases— is attributed to mutations in the KCNJ2 gene which forms a channel that is responsible for transporting potassium ions into muscle cells. The movement of these ions is essential for maintaining the normal function of muscles. KCNJ2 gene mutations disrupt the structure of the potassium ions and leads to periodic paralysis and irregular heart rhythm, says the Genetics Home Reference.