A mother has spoken of her horror after her healthy 10-year-old daughter suffered from a stroke.
Hayley Clark, 44, says her daughter Gracie suffered from a stroke last Thursday, on 26 September, while getting ready for school. She was getting ready for primary school when she collapsed on the floor.
"It was all completely out of the blue. There were no warning signs at all, she was fine before,” recounts Hayley. "She was getting ready for school and the next second she was on the floor.”
She adds: "It happened in seconds. I thought she had fainted on the floor and I had to get her to come around. I got on the phone to the ambulance straight away. The right side of her face was drooping. She couldn’t lift her arms, move her arms or legs.”
Hayley says Gracie was always a healthy and active child who did “lots of dancing and gymnastics” – meaning it was all the more shocking to see her suffer from an “old people” condition.
"To me a stroke is an old people thing. It isn’t something that happens to a healthy 10-year-old girl,” she says.
Gracie has started walking again for short periods, but requires the help of a wheelchair. Of Gracie’s condition, Hayley says: “Her right arm is very weak and her memory is bad.”
She adds: "[Gracie] keeps getting really confused and she is getting frustrated with it all.”
Gracie has already had to undergo a three hour operation to remove the blood clot, which caused the stroke, from her brain.
The hospital removed 96% of the blood clot during the operation, and now she is recovering in hospital for an indefinite period.
Hayley says: "She started her physio yesterday throwing the ball back and forth and saying the name of whoever she is throwing the ball to as her memory is quite bad right now.”
As Gracie has already began to regain some sensation in her fingers and legs, doctors expect she will make a recovery, but it will be a long process involving a further six weeks in hospital, followed by in-care at home as well as regular CT scans and check-ups.
While strokes generally occur in adults, Gracie’s story shows this is not always the case.
Some 400 children suffer from a stroke in the UK every year, according to the NHS.
Earlier this year, actor Emilia Clarke, 32, shared photos of herself following surgery to treat a ruptured brain aneurysm.
The photos were revealed after the Game of Thrones’ actress revealed how she underwent emergency brain surgery in 2011 at the age of 24 – and a second surgery in 2013.
A fundraiser page has been set up on Go Fund Me to pay for food, travel and items to make Gracie comfortable in hospital. You can donate now by visiting the page here.