Today’s Thoughtful Thursday is a Guest Post by my cousin Kim…..
Imagine a person who survived a stroke.
Imagine him with the resulting challenges from the damage inflicted to the brain. Communicating is more difficult. Walking is something he may never get to do. Using both limbs equally may not be a reality. He may have memory and attention problems. He will need years of therapy to help functionality impacted by the stroke. He may have altered behavior or learning differences. He may experience anxiety and depression due to the impact the stroke has on his life.
Now how old is the person you were imagining? 80? 70?
When most people hear that somebody had a stroke, they imagine it’s somebody who is a bit older and perhaps not in the best of health. Rarely would anybody imagine a child! Or an infant! And there’s little chance one would imagine an unborn child.
“And believe me, I still wish I had no reason to know this, but stroke can strike at any time—even to an unborn baby.”
Our three-year-old little guy Mikey is a stroke survivor. But we had no idea for the first few months of his life this was what he endured. When he was a few months old we realized he was only using his left hand, and after having to convince the doctor that handedness is not supposed to be evident that young, we finally got an MRI which revealed he had a stroke in-utero.
As a result, he has right-sided hemiplegia which is a form of cerebral palsy. He has had speech, occupational and physical therapies since he was 8 months old, and although he still has delays, he can now run, jump and talk!
“He is our little hero who makes us laugh and smile every day.”
Some children who suffer a stroke are not as lucky as Mikey. Some cannot walk or talk or use any of their limbs. Some don’t survive. But we are lucky Mikey is with us. And his twin brother Brandon is his biggest motivator to achieve the next milestone (and his best buddy for playing trains, wrestling and running around like loony three-year-olds!) It is sometimes difficult to see Brandon developing typically while his brother always seems to be behind, but the most beautiful thing to see is when Mikey actually “catches up” to Brandon and does something we’ve been waiting for him to do. I can’t think of a better feeling than the one I have when I see my babies learning and thriving and happy.
May is Pediatric Stroke Awareness Month.
Most people are not aware that babies can have strokes, and those who actually survive the strokes will have a lifetime of challenges ahead of them. If these little stroke survivors can do some of the difficult things they do every single day of their lives, then we can do something to honor them for 31 days. For our Streak for Strokes, my husband Adam and I are committing to a streak of eating well and exercising for the month of May. We will each be working out every day & committing to a healthy lifestyle all month long. Won’t you join us in our streak? Do something for the 31 days in May that challenges you. We would be so thrilled if you could honor Mikey and acknowledge the difficulties he faces every day.
Please consider supporting us and make a donation to CHASA (Children’s Hemiplegia and Stroke Association www.chasa.org ) in Mikey’s honor to help CHASA spread awareness and help families affected by pediatric stroke. You can donate here: http://www.crowdrise.com/MoryStreakforStrokes/fundraiser/kimmory
We are also organizing a Pediatric Stroke Awareness Day at the Somerset Patriots ballpark in Bridgewater, NJ on Sunday, May 18 at the 1:05 pm game. Tickets are $12 each and proceeds will benefit CHASA. It will be a fun day for a great cause. If you’re interested in joining us, email me at email@example.com and I can get your tickets to you. We’d love to see everybody at the ballpark!