Stroke can happen to anyone at any age. Three-year-old Rocco and his family first learnt about childhood stroke when it happened to them. Rocco was a bright, bubbly, inquisitive three-year-old. He loved going to nursery, playing with his favourite toy and having cuddles with his grandad Jammy. Then in January 2018, everything changed when Rocco had a stroke.
Katie, Rocco’s mum, remembers the moment it happened: “He dropped to the floor, his face drooped on one side and when he came round he couldn't remember who people were or speak properly. Rocco struggled to remember his favourite toy or who his grandad Jammy was; he was not acting himself at all.”
The medical teams took some time to identify what was wrong with Rocco but eventually diagnosed him with having a stroke.
“As his parents, it was an awful experience. Rocco endured multiple tests every day - scans, blood tests and x-rays - but they still weren’t able to find out why this happened to him.”
Since his stroke, Rocco has come on leaps and bounds. He's received physio and speech and language therapy and after two months of being home was able to gradually start back at nursery.
“He suffers with memory problems and sometimes can’t find the right words to express himself,” continues Katie. “He started school in September where his progression is monitored.”
Rocco is under the care of the Evelina Children's Hospital. He, and his family, are receiving support from the Stroke Association’s Childhood Stroke Project to help them to deal with the impact of his stroke and find ways to support him on his recovery journey.
As well as supporting Rocco, Katie and her family are also trying to raise money and awareness about stroke to help others. “Stroke changes everything in one second”, she says. “While you're busy planning your day/week/life, stroke happens and just like that - nothing is ever the same again.
“I'd never given stroke a second thought – I always thought of it as something that happens to old people, right? It is heart-breaking and soul-destroying to have a seriously ill child. The more people that know that stroke can happen to anyone, the easier it is to get it diagnosed and people can receive the right care, fast!
"Rocco has fought to overcome this like a total hero! We feel so lucky to have him here with us every day and now we want to support others going through this.”
Chloe Stanley, Rocco’s aunt, is taking on the Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday 3 October 2021 for the Stroke Association. So far, with the support of friends and family, Chloe has raised a wonderful £1,876!
To find about more about Rocco’s story and to donate visit Katie Stanley's Just Giving page.
For more information on childhood stroke please visit our website.