Alex had a stroke at 11 years old in 2005

My daughter Alex had a stroke on Thursday 18th August 2005. She was at school, it was about 2pm, (in year 5), playing sport when she lost vision in her right eye and started to feel dizzy. She asked some of her friends to get their teacher, as she wasn't feeling right. Her teacher noticed that she was dragging her right leg as she was walking towards her. The office manager and assistant principal helped her into the office where they noticed that Alex couldn't communicate with them or have any control of her right side. An ambulance was called and off she went to the RCH.

I was called at work and I hope I will never receive a call like that again. They told me that Alex wasn't feeling right and that she couldn't move the right side of her body, she was having trouble talking with them. I knew something major had happened just by the sound of Jill's, (Office Manager), voice as I was always getting calls for scrapes and bruises between Alex and her brother. At this time I was shaking and rang my husband, Rob, I told him what had happened and asked him to come and get me as I wasn't capable of driving from the shakes.

We arrived at hospital and had to wait for the ambulance to arrive, which seemed to take forever but was only half an hour. As soon as I saw Alex being wheeled out of the ambulance we both knew that something major had happened as she did not look like the girl that I had sent off to school that morning.

After numerous tests, Cat scan, MRI they said that they suspected that Alex had a stroke but they needed more tests to confirm. To see Alex lying there not being able to communicate or move was surreal and we were hoping that it was just a nightmare. Rick spoke to us that night and told us what he suspected and that more tests would be done in the morning.

Alex was transferred to the 6th floor in the High Dependency Unit. The next day it was Alex's birthday, she was turning 11, and she couldn't remember, which broke our hearts. She still couldn't move, talk or anything and it took 3 weeks before some feeling came back into her arms and legs and the difficult process of learning to do everything again started. Eight weeks later she walked out of hospital and started to slowly get back to a normal life.

She started going back to school for half day a week and then one day and then two and so on. The following March 2006, Alex had a TIA which put her back in hospital for ten days and then another in June 2006, which was another ten day stay and since then nothing. She has now started High School and is doing extremely well.

We hope that there are no more TIA's in the future. They haven't been able to explain to us why this has happened but let's hope that through their hard work researching that one day kids won't have to go through what she has. She is an inspiration to us all with her strength, courage and determination to get through this and live the life that she has planned for herself.

You can contact Alex or Susi at
Susi Di Palma

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