Atlanta woman overcome by mysterious illness dies

An Atlanta woman who was battling a mysterious illness has died.

Stefanie Ballard's husband, Pete, posted on her GoFundMe page Sunday to say that she did not respond to treatment and went into cardiac arrest. He said his wife passed away peacefully, surrounded by family and friends. 

Pete told FOX 5 last week his wife went to bed with fever after a day at the pool with their two children.

"She woke up the next morning with chills, headache, started getting nauseous, and then started losing muscle control and actually had a fall," said Ballard.

He said he rushed his wife to Piedmont Hospital where after a battery of tests doctors identified swelling in Stefanie's brain, but not the illness causing it.

"Her immune system is confused and actually attacking her brain confusing it for a virus or some other kind of thing that needs to be fought," said Ballard.

He said the swelling paralyzed Stefanie's right side for about eight days.

Steroids and other treatments eased the paralysis. Then Wednesday at physical therapy, it returned, but now on the other side. 

"I noticed that her left side her face was drooping. It flipped and we weren't sure why," said Ballard.

Doctors were conducting a brain biopsy on Stefanie when we spoke to her husband outside Piedmont Hospital.

Earlier FOX 5’s George Franco spoke with Jessica Diamond and Karen Morianos at their west Atlanta home. They and others have been teaming up to help the Ballard family. They organized a weekend yard sale and a GoFundMe account.

Pete is self-employed and Stefanie was a stay at home mom.

"Her story is sort of changing every day and it's the most we can do is be there to support," said Karen Morianos.

"A gun went off for a race that I have no idea how long it is I have no idea what the course is I have no idea what the obstacles are but we got to run like heck," said Ballard last week.

Anyone who would like to help the family with their medical expenses can do so through their GoFundMe account by click here.

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