When my son was born in July of 2012, all seemed great during his first day in the world. We took him home, initially amazed by this little bundle of joy we created, but we quickly realized something wasn’t right. He wasn’t eating, he looked dazed and he seemed very lethargic. So on the same night we brought him home, we rushed our new baby back to the emergency room.
Over the course of 12 hours, my son continued to deteriorate, to the point he started to have seizures. He was rushed to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) where the amazing doctors at Swedish saved his life. We would find out on the third of our 29-day stay that our son had suffered a stroke, something I thought only happened to older people. We would be told by various doctors and nurses that a stroke in babies is rare, and the lack of information we found on the internet seemed to back up their claims.
It would be six months before my wife was able to find information from another parent whose child had also suffered a stroke, and another three years until a local organization was formed relating to pediatric stroke.
Pediatric Stroke Warriors was established in 2015, with a mission is to raise awareness of the issue with both the general population and the medical community–“That stroke can happen at any age.” It’s now become the largest childhood, stroke-related nonprofit in the Northwest. Their programs include a Stroke Fund at Children’s Hospital, which provides uncompensated assistance to families impacted by pediatric stroke and Warrior Bags and Brave Boxes given to newly diagnosed families as well as children of all ages recovering from stroke. They also support the Helping Hands Therapy Grant, which provides families with funds to obtain additional therapy or equipment to further support their child in reaching their maximum potential. Additionally, they provide a network of support and resources for other families going through similar experiences, something unavailable to my family after our son was diagnosed.
My wife and I immediately became involved with Pediatric Stroke Warriors. My wife is now the vice president of their board of directors, while I assist with procurement for their annual fundraiser each year and provide technological guidance whenever needed. We recently participated in the organization’s annual Stroke Walk, passing out information about strokes in children. It was incredible to see so many participants wearing the PWS Be Brave bags.
Pediatric Stroke Warriors is a grass-roots organization dedicated to helping children and families impacted by Pediatric Stroke and to raising awareness that stroke can and does happen to children and babies. I encourage you to donate to this cause.