From what I remember, my son befriended Alex in his last year at infant school. He said how cool and funny Alex was, that he liked DOCTOR WHO and talked about how eagerly he wanted to be picked as Alex’s partner when he got to go to the computer room.
Whilst my son grew to love one of his new best friends we learnt a little of Alex’s enormous battle to get to where he was. Even now I find it hard to comprehend what he and his family must have been through. Let me explain:
When Alex was 7 he suffered a stroke, which left him unable to ‘talk, swallow, lift his head or even move the right side of his body.’ This led to a long hospital stay where he received physiotherapy and occupational therapy. By the time he joined my son’s class , he had made huge progress in his recovery but has still been left disabled and struggles to do a whole heap of things that many of us take for granted. His attitude and approach astounds me – he is funny and has reprimanded me on at least one occasion because I didn’t realize his memory had also been effected by the stroke. He has taught us things we would have never known. The friendship between he and my son makes me smile.
Alex’s Mum Angela, is also amazing. I’ll never forget the time she took to stop, chat and listen to me jabber away before going home to make an appointment for Alex regarding the migraines he was enduring. Angela has always come across as patient and understanding despite the fear and worry that must some times be prevalent. Alex has a kind and caring family who go to great lengths to get him the continued support that he needs to prevent his condition from worsening. Understandably, they hope to give Alex a chance at the best quality of life possible. There really are a myriad of health problems that stroke sufferers can be left with. One thing Alex desperately needs to optimize his health and to support him in the things that – again many of us take for granted, is intense physiotherapy.
This intense physiotherapy costs, and in order to raise the money for this Alex’s Aunt, Barbara is running the Great South Run. If you can give anything towards this please see the link to Barbara’s Crowdfunding page which I shall include in this post.
It is believed by medical professionals that Alex’s stroke came about due to an extremely rare but very serious reaction to the Chicken pox Virus. Before anyone panics about this let me say that according to Live Science ‘about 6 out of 100,000 children under 15 have a stroke each year‘ and it is an even smaller proportion of children whose strokes are linked to chicken pox.* However, it can happen, and when I contacted Alex’s mum about writing this post she was keen to raise awareness of the risks.
Angela also pointed me in the direction of http://www.stroke.org as I wanted to include information about signs and symptoms. The national stroke Association suggest the following things to look out for:
SUDDEN numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body;
SUDDEN confusion, trouble speaking, or understanding;
SUDDEN trouble seeing in one or both eyes;
SUDDEN trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination;
SUDDEN severe headache with no known cause.
The advice on their page in the event of the above symptoms is:
Call 9-1-1 immediately if you observe any of these symptoms.
Note the time of the first symptom.
This information is important and can affect treatment decisions.
I wish Alex’s aunt all the best fot her run and hope Alex and his family can raise as much as possible to help them with Alex’s Physio. If you would loke to make a donation the link is to Barbara’s page is Here
The following websites were useful for this post and are good sites to visit if you wish to find out more: