Maddie Redfern, the girl who survived a childhood stroke

Maddie was treated with aspirin to prevent further clots and a series of therapists began to assess her needs. After being discharged, two weeks later, these therapies continued at home and as an outpatient. “We didn’t think too far down the line. It was day-by-day,” says Claire.

The initial focus was on walking – something the family had been warned might not happen – and talking. Two months after her stroke, Maddie was fitted with a leg splint and took her first steps. “They were faltering, like a baby’s, but it was an amazing moment,” says Claire. After four months she could say some words.

When Maddie was five, she asked about her condition for the first time. “We always said she had a tricky hand and leg. She just said, ‘Mummy, why am I tricky when nobody else is?’. Then she started to cry.”

“Everyone could run faster, do things better. It took longer to learn to read. Maths is hard. Her educational needs continued to be revealed with time,” says Claire. When Maddie started school, Claire tried to get a statement of special educational needs to ensure her daughter got the right help.

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