Did you know babies can have strokes too?
You wouldn’t be alone if you said no. Sullivan's mum Tenneayle didn’t think of stroke at first, and neither did the doctors.
When Sullivan wouldn’t use his right arm, or the right side of his body, even three months after he was born… she became concerned.
“We just knew it wasn’t right,” Tenneayle says.
When Sullivan began having seizures, Tenneayle and husband Josh were desperate for answers. Tenneayle started searching Sullivan’s symptoms online and the words ‘childhood stroke’ came up… “As I read those words, I knew that that’s what had happened,” she says.
“That night we packed up the car and drove the three hours to our nearest children’s hospital. We presented at the emergency department and told them we thought Sullivan might have had a stroke,” Tenneayle says.
Sullivan was admitted straight away and a brain scan confirmed the worried parents’ suspicions – he had suffered a stroke. And Sullivan’s battle was only just beginning – he would spend the next month in hospital fighting for his life.
“The scarring on Sullivan’s brain from the stroke caused a series of seizures called infantile spasms or West Syndrome. We went through a pretty harrowing treatment regime. We are incredibly lucky the treatment was successful.” Tenneayle shares.
When you give a gift of hope this Christmas, you will help support families like Sullivan’s fight back after stroke.
Once Sullivan’s seizures were under control, the family could begin focusing on rehabilitation. Sullivan’s stroke impacted the movement and coordination of the right side of his body. His speech centre was also severely damaged.
“The function of his right arm and leg was a major rehab focus in the beginning. We had regular and quite aggressive physio and occupational therapy sessions straight away. The speech therapies we picked up a little later,” Tenneayle adds.
They’ve gone through so much, and today Sullivan’s progress is a testament to the young family’s perseverance and courage.
At two years old, Sullivan has started walking with the help of an ankle-foot brace. He is also starting to talk and stringing a few words together which Tenneayle shares is very exciting to see.“Your child will surprise you at every roadblock. They are so much more resilient that you know. And as parents, you are so much more resilient that you realise,” she says.