Mar 06, 2019
Rebecca DiManno
Paediatric/Adolescent Stroke

On April 12, 2018, my son Owen was at his first high school track meet.  He attends RS McLaughlan CVI, in the French immersion program.  His track team was participating at York University, and Owen was running the 1500m race.  Owen has always been incredibly active, whether its rep hockey, ball hockey, long distance running or mountain biking, nothing’s ever stopped him!  My husband received a call from the Coach saying that they were transporting Owen to Etobicoke Hospital because Owen wasn’t feeling well, but his blood pressure seemed ok, and it appeared that maybe it was a sugar imbalance or exhaustion.  When we arrived at the hospital, the coach met us before we were able to see Owen, he told us that he felt Owen was suffering a stroke.  We approached the Dr in care, and asked if that was true, he responded that Owen was too young to be having a stroke.  (This is where I would like to bring awareness)  After another Dr was called in, it was evident that Owen required a dedicated team of paediatric specialists, we were then transferred by Ornge to Sick Kids.  After MRI and CT scans it was determined that yes indeed Owen suffered a massive stroke due to the right internal carotid artery dissection.  He under went a life saving hemi-craniotomy the next night after admission.  Owen was in a coma for the next 8 days.  He had left sided hemiparesis, along with frontal lobe damage with controlled emotions, inhibitions and tone of voice.  We spent a month at Sick Kids before being transferred to Holland Bloorview Children’s Rehabilitation Hospital, where he spent the next 4 months in intensive therapy.  Owen had his bone replaced at the end of August, and he was able to start school with all of his peers!  Owen continues his therapy program through Grandview Children’s Center, and is making gains almost daily.


While at a Young Stroke Survivors Symposium on Tuesday, it’s apparent that the awareness regarding Paediatric/Adolescent Stroke is low.  I would love to start the conversation regarding this health concern.  Logically we know that we could not have prevented Owen’s stroke from happening, but I believe we could’ve provided him with faster acute care if the first responders were aware that stroke can happen at any age.