Boca Raton 6-Year-old Girl Recovers From Stroke

A young girl from Boca Raton is recovering from a stroke and her mother wants everyone to know the signs of a stroke

It's a big day for 6-year-old Kendall Gillis at West Boca Pediatric Rehabilitation.      

She 's able to jump off a little platform without help from her physical therapist. And she' s able to kneel by herself while tossing a ball to her mom. Kendall was on the treadmill. Thee months ago she couldn't walk, sit up or talk.
It all started on July 9 at the beach with her mother Greta Gillis.
"She didn't say I have a headache but she said my head hurts, and she was holding the side of her head just over her ear and she was drooling. So when I went to walk her off the beach to take her up to the shower, she couldn't walk. Her left leg was dragging," Greta Gillis said.
Kendall's parents rushed her to West Boca Medical Center. Doctors there quickly determined she had a stroke. They had her airlifted to Joe Dimaggio Children's Hospital in Hollywood.   
"When she first came in she was very minimally responsive, not awake, not following commands, unable to move her left side at all," said Dr. Alan Novick, rehabilitation medical director for Memorial Health Care System.
Kendall had brain surgery to remove the cause, which was a blood vessel malformation called an AVM. 
"I never ever thought a child could have a stroke," said her mother.
Novik said it’s not common, "about six per every 100,000 children in our population or about 18,000 children a year will have a childhood stroke."
While Kendall still has weakness on her left side she recovered quicker than doctors expected. Her mother wants to make sure parents, teachers and other caregivers are aware of the signs. Think of the word FAST.

F for face: Ask the child to smile. Does one side droop? A for arms: Ask the child to raise both. Does one drift down?  S for Speech: Ask the child to repeat a sentence. Are the words slurred? T for time: Call 911.
"Don't wait if you see any of the signs go get help go to the ER and be proactive because time is of the essence," said Greta Gillis.
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