Sheri McAllister was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome in 2005 and went from a body building athlete to paralyzed in less than one week.

Guillain-Barre is a rare autoimmune condition that causes your immune system to attack your nerves, according to Health Link. It causes muscle weakness, loss of reflexes, numbness or tingling in the arms, legs and face and paralysis in severe cases.

“It was a game changer,” says McAllister.

“It gave me a new perspective on the word ‘can’t.’ It also made me realize I had to focus on what was important to me and go after it, even if I didn’t know what the outcome would be.”

As a woman who was always full of energy, McAllister says falling ill made her take stock of what was important in life and that made her more determined than ever to regain her mobility.

“I made myself walk the hospital stairs every day until I couldn’t,” she says.

“How many stairs can I walk without using the handrail? How many more can I do using the handrail? Focusing on doing what I could every day and looking to what I could add in the future.”

Nicole Lacoursiere, owner of Body By Nic Personal Training, says McAllister is truly an amazing woman and an inspiration.

“Her greatest qualities are her never-give-up attitude combined with an amazing giving heart.”