WHITESTOWN, Ind. - A Whitestown police officer recovering from a rare disease that left him paralyzed and facing death credits his will power and willingness to serve as his remedies for a speedy recovery.
"You have to have some kind of goal. This disease was so overwhelming, not just being paralyzed but the pain, and then you got to have believe in God and then believe in the people you work for," Sgt. Daniel Boutwell said. "It’s usually a two-year recovery, and I’m not putting up with a two-year recovery."
Doctors diagnosed Boutwell with Guillain Barre syndrome April 28 after he woke up that morning and was unable to move.
"I couldn’t move an inch," he said. "I was completely paralyzed from the neck down."
The disease, which affects the nervous system to the point of paralysis, spread and when it was near his lungs doctors feared for his life.
"There was a time that we almost thought we were going to lose him," Whitestown Police Chief Dennes Anderson said. "But he managed to push through it. He's one of the strongest guys I’ve ever met.”
Boutwell did push through and is continuing to recover. He remained paralyzed in the hospital until August and after countless hours of rehabilitation, he started walking with a cane this week, just seven months after his diagnosis.
"I just push myself. That’s the way it’s always been," Boutwell said.
“The things that this man has gone through is just amazing and always with a smile," Chief Anderson said.
Anderson described Boutwell as a, "pillar of the community," and credits the work he's done in Whitestown the last 22 years with the response residents have had.
In June, hundreds of people wrote on a giant note of encouragement that Anderson delivered to Boutwell in the hospital.
"I had the nurses put it up at the end of the bed and I could just sit there and read the names and stuff," Boutwell said. "I sat there and read it and read it and read it."
In August shortly after he left the hospital, Whitestown city leaders dedicated the road in front of the police department in Boutwell's honor.
“I actually teared up," Boutwell said. "It was pretty emotional."
Now, the community is coming together this weekend to hold a ham and bean super for Boutwell's and his family to help with his medical bills.
The dinner will be at the Whitestown Masonic Lodge in downtown Whitestown this Saturday at 5:00 p.m. and is free with donations going to the Boutwell family.
You can also donate to the officer through this GoFundMe page. Boutwell said he hopes to be back at work by January 1st.