Young stroke survivor inspires mum to stride 4 stroke

Holli-Bryceland11 March 2014 is a day Cranbourne mother Kristi Bryceland will never forget. Her five year-old daughter Holli had been having a normal happy day until late that night the unthinkable happened – she had a stroke.

“It was just a normal day and there were no warning signs,’’ Kristi said.

Holli had dinner, read a book with her mum and went to bed as normal. Then during the night she woke.

“I was putting Holli back to bed at around 11pm and she wouldn’t lie down. It looked like she was having a nightmare but she wouldn’t talk to me – the look in her eyes was very scary,” Kristi explained.

“I stood her up and she was almost walking in circles. Her face drooped then she started convulsing, vomiting and passed out – it was terrifying.”

Holli had suffered a stroke. Holli’s stroke has had an enormous impact on her and Kristi’s life. Kristi, a single parent, was forced to give up full-time work to care for Holli.

“I went from working full-time and earning good money to only being able to work one day a week,” Kristi said.

“Although I have great family support, we have essentially done this on our own. There is no second parent to share the load or who is as invested in Holli’s recovery as I am. 

“I take her to see speech therapists, occupational therapists, child psychologists, dieticians, paediatricians, neurosurgeons, tutors and a heart specialist, as well as other activities.

“I feel like Holli has been robbed of her childhood as she always has to be somewhere or doing something to aid her recovery.”

Kristi and Holli took part in Stride 4 Stroke, our month long campaign to help stop stroke, save lives and end suffering.

Kristi pledged to stride 100 kilometres and raised $3,200 in an effort to help other families avoid going through what she and Holli experienced. 

“I set the challenge of running 100 kilometres as I hate running and I thought that it was my turn to put myself completely out of my comfort zone. Holli will have to do this for the rest of her life so the least I can do is push myself for one month.”