Bride-to-be warns: A stroke can happen to anyone

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) - It's normally the ring, then the promise to each other to be there through sickness and in health, but for an engaged Mount Pleasant couple, that devotion was tested before exchanging vows.

Holly Harrison was at work this past Valentine's Day when things took a sudden and dramatic turn for the worse. Harrison became sick in the stomach and passed out in the bathroom.

A coworker broke down the door to find her unresponsive.

"The next thing I knew I woke up in the hospital and people told me what happened," 28-year-old Harrison said.

Harrison has polycystic kidney disease and had suffered an aneurysm, which can be a side effect of the disease.

"I kissed her goodbye that morning and everything was fine. Three hours later, I'm getting a phone call that she's going to MUSC and she's going to be fighting for her life for two weeks," Will Folk, her fianc said.

Harrison was at Medical University Hospital, the only place in the Lowcountry with an Intensive Care Unit dedicated to patients with brain injuries and the only hospital with the technology and highly specialized medical team to treat her brain aneurysm.

Folk quickly learned how grim his fiance's condition looked. The doctor told him she was the sickest person at MUSC and she had a 10 to 20 percent chance of living.

That is why today he realizes how truly lucky he is to have her by his side as his future wife.

"I loved her before all this, but it makes you realize what's important," he said. "She's my better two-thirds. Everyone says they have a better half, but she's my better two-thirds."

Harrison is expected to make a full recovery. She says the biggest challenge is her physical strength. She has rehabilitation therapy three times a week.

"People should be aware that this can happen in your twenties," Harrison said. "I think a lot of the stroke awareness is targeted to older people now, but it could happen to anyone."

While the medical bills have added up, the couple has started to put some focus on planning their wedding again.

That date is almost exactly a year away.