An eight-year-old boy’s complaint to his parents that his hands felt ‘weird’ at a family lunch was turned upside down when his life was turned upside down.
Ollie Hawes, of the NSW Mid North Coast, was playing with his cousins on a family vacation in April when his mother Helen noticed something wasn’t right.
Mrs. Hawes said she looked away for a moment, but when she looked back at Ollie, his face was “drooping.”
The boy had had a ‘serious’ stroke.
Ollie Hawes, 8, was diagnosed with a progressive condition called moyamoya, a rare blood vessel disease in which the carotid artery in the skull becomes blocked or narrowed, decreasing blood flow to your brain
Ollie Hawes, eight, suffered a stroke at Easter. He imagined being pushed in a wheelchair by his brother Alex
‘It wasn’t clear, but he managed to say to me,’ my hand feels funny ‘. He was still standing, but it was just that his right side was a bit strange, ”she said 7 News.
Mrs. Hawes, a registered nurse, rushed her son to a local hospital before being transferred to Sydney’s Children’s Hospital in Westmead.
A CT scan and MRI later diagnosed him with a progressive condition called moyamoya, a rare blood vessel disease in which the carotid artery in the skull is blocked or narrowed, reducing blood flow to your brain.
“The doctors saw that the blood vessels were extremely small and fine and that not enough blood was being supplied to that area of the brain, but they could see it being delivered,” Ms. Hawes said.
The first symptom of moyamoya disease is usually stroke or recurrent transient ischemic attack, especially in children.
“Turns out that Ollie, the little warrior, had been fighting this for a while, while his vessels were already compensating for blockages in several arteries elsewhere in his brain,” reads an online fundraiser to support the youngster’s family.
The first symptom of moyamoya disease is usually a stroke or a recurring transient ischemic attack, especially in children – but Ollie has been fighting it for a while with his blood vessels to compensate for blockages in arteries elsewhere in his brain.
Helen Hawes with her son Ollie, who is recovering from ‘significant’ stroke he suffered over Easter
Ollie had a stroke in the early hours of the morning that left him with right-sided hemiparesis – paralysis on one side of his body – and loss of speech, except for the words ‘yes’ and ‘no’.
The eight-year-old had surgery to try to remove the emboli before being in intensive care for nine days.
Ollie has been undergoing physical therapy since the medical episode and started walking again last week.
Ollie Hawes (center) is pictured with his brother Alex and father Shannon. The stroke left Ollie with paralysis on one side of his body
Helen Hawes (pictured with Ollie and her other son) said she looked away for a moment, but when she looked back at Ollie, his face was ‘drooping’
Ms. Hawes said that Ollie’s speech has improved recently, but he is still struggling to find the words he wants to say.
“Every day there are signs of hope for a good recovery and thankfully his understanding is still there because he understands the conversation and can still laugh,” said Mrs. Parry.
Ollie was diagnosed with hereditary spherocytosis when he was two, and doctors may think it may be related to his moyamoya.
Young Ollie loves nothing more than “racing around on his bike” with dad Shannon and brother Alex. The three are pictured above
Ollie Hawes is also an avid young fisherman
Aside from the blood condition – which his brother has too and hasn’t caused any obvious problems – Ollie showed no warning signs.
The fundraiser describes Ollie as a “sporty kid by nature” who loves “tearing around on his bike at home with his dad and little brother.”
He also goes fishing regularly and is a huge NRL fan as well as a promising footy player on the Bowra Tigers junior rugby league team.
He will continue to have regular MRIs and CT scans.
The GoFundMePage Helping Ollie’s parents pay for his recovery has raised more than $ 17,000 so far.
Ms Hawes said the support of the local community had restored her faith in humanity.
Ollie’s experiences and recovery have prompted Ms. Hawes to raise awareness about the condition.
She said it is not widely known that ‘children have a stroke’ as much as the elderly.