Fundraiser held for flesh-eating bacteria survivor - CBS46 News

Fundraiser held for flesh-eating bacteria survivor

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A day of gardening nearly cost a Gwinnett County woman her life. Karen Theiken got a flesh-eating bacteria and spent 11 days in a medically-induced coma.

How Theiken acquired the bacteria is still a mystery, but she knows she has the support of a community after a fundraiser was held to help her family pay for what medical expenses insurance doesn't cover.

"A lot of our doctors have said, really, there's no medical reason why I should still be alive," Theiken said. "We definitely credit the power of prayer."

Theiken, by most accounts, probably shouldn't be alive today.

"This just does not happen to a 38-year-old woman, you don't get sick like that," Theiken said. "It's just not supposed to happen that way."

Last spring, Theiken started feeling sick after working in her yard and within 24 hours, she was gravely ill. She was rushed to Gwinnett Medical Center in Lawrenceville. Her organs began shutting down, and doctors put her into a medically-induced coma to help manage the deadly bacterial infection.

"Just very lucky to be alive in general so I really have not too much to complain about," Theiken said.

Fast forward six months, and Theiken is back on her feet lucky to have survived the ordeal.

"It's a miracle," Theiken said. "It's literally a miracle."

Tuesday night, Music Time Learning Center and Pollo Tropical in Lawrenceville held a fundraiser to help Theiken and her family get back on financial solid ground

"Every little penny helps for us to be able to have a wonderful holiday season," said Paul Theiken, Karen's husband.

The Theikens hope Tuesday's fundraiser can help pay off some medical expenses - and give their two young daughters a merry Christmas.

"We're hoping to make a dent, that's all were trying to do," said Paul Theiken. "We're trying to do the best we can."

The manager of Pollo Tropical said they'll donate 20 percent of all the proceeds collected from 5-8 p.m. It's too soon for a final number, but he said they could raise nearly $1,000 for the Theikens.

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