Four-year-old Sophie, of Jindalee, was playing with her cousin at home when she came out of the playroom holding her leg and then suddenly collapsed. Her mum Amanda, whose parents both worked in healthcare, recognised the signs of a stroke and immediately called 000.

“What mum and dad taught me saved my daughter’s life,” Amanda, said.

“It was oddly calming when we were told Sophie had suffered a stroke, as it basically just confirmed my suspicions. It wasn’t until later that it really sank in.”

Every year, about two children in every 100,000 will have a stroke. Sophie had an ischemic stroke, which occurs when the arteries to your brain become narrowed or blocked, causing severely reduced blood flow.

Sophie initially spent 10 days in hospital after her stroke and returned frequently over the next four years for therapy and monitoring.

As part of her long-term treatment plan, Sophie, now 12, continues to receive physical and occupational therapies for right-side hemiplegia (paralysis) caused by the stroke. She also continues to have some learning challenges, but is well supported by her teachers at St Aidan’s Anglican Girls’ School, and has a reputation for giving everything a go.

“By engaging Sophie in the discussion and letting her set her own goals, we have been able to accomplish so much. Stroke wasn’t the end, stroke was the beginning. The start of the adventure where she became a stronger, smarter, more determined version of herself,” Amanda said.

Sophie and her family are using their experience to help increase awareness of strokes in children and have documented her road to recovery on the Stroke Kids Facebook page. “We set up this page to help other families, show there is plenty of life after stroke and that therapy can be creative and fun.”

“Today, Sophie is a passionate, determined, kind, forgiving, confident, exceptional young lady. A girl that doesn’t give up, a girl that wants to give back.”

Stroke Foundation Australia