It's been just over three weeks since Cameron Vazzoler's life was flipped on its head.
Two months ago he was captaining the Bega Roosters to the 2022 Group 16 premiership. Now he struggles to walk.
Despite a shock diagnosis of Guillain-Barré Syndrome, his resolve couldn't be stronger as the path to recovery begins.
The outpouring of support for Mr Vazzoler has been tremendous, with over $35,000 raised in just six days via a GoFundMe page set up by the Group 7 and Group 16 rugby league fraternity.
"It's been awesome, I didn't expect it to blow up as much as it did," Mr Vazzoler said.
While only living in the area for roughly a year, Mr Vazzoler has already made his mark on the town, coaching and captaining the Bega Roosters to a premiership just two months ago.
His skill in directing play on the field - and his distinctive moustache - helped earn him plenty of fans.
Mr Vazzoler moved to Bega from Shellharbour, finding work as a machine operator at the Bega Cheese factory.
"The support from people from both areas has been quite unreal," he said.
The road to recovery could be long, and Mr Vazzoler was seeing a physiotherapist three times a week to help regain the strength in his arms and legs.
Unfortunately an accurate prognosis was difficult as the syndrome was so rare and has extremely varied impacts across patients. Mr Vazzoler was told a full recovery could potentially take 9-12 months.
With uncertainty around when he'll be able to get back to work, the donations received will allow him to take his time.
"It's taken a lot of the pressure off me and allowed me to get back to full health before going back to work."
The past three weeks have been a blur for Mr Vazzoler, as he recalled the days leading up to his time in hospital.
"I got pretty crook with food poisoning for about three or four days. Then five days later I started getting sore calves, which I thought was just dehydration because I had played golf on the Monday."
He went to work the following day, but realised later in the week that something wasn't right.
While he felt okay, his legs started to feel fatigued and as he struggled to walk, Mr Vazzoler thought it best to go to the medical centre, which led to six-day stint in Bega hospital, including three days in ICU.
The diagnosis was Guillain-Barré Syndrome, which luckily was able to be treated quickly to stop the initial spread.
"The first positive news was that it hadn't spread into my respiratory system," Mr Vazzoler said.
Assisted by a walking frame, he is now back home and seeing a physiotherapist three times a week.
While playing rugby league again was a while away, Mr Vazzoler did have some good news regarding next season with the Bega Roosters club.
"The footy club have been really supportive and they're still happy for me to still coach, which I thought was really good.
"My goal is to get back to footy this year, but realistically it probably won't happen."
If you would like to donate to help Cameron Vazzoler with his long road to recovery, you can do so here https://gofund.me/d1055d87.
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