Toddler who survived a stroke wins national award

Louise, with mum Emma, receives her award from BBC Look North presenter, Paul Mooney.
Louise, with mum Emma, receives her award from BBC Look North presenter, Paul Mooney.

A toddler who suffered the trauma of a stroke has been given a national award.

Emma Rose Willis, two, from Washington, has received a Highly Commended Life After Stroke Award from the Stroke Association.

The Teal Farm youngster suffered a stroke on the day she was born, in September 2012.

At first it was thought she had hiccups, but it turned out that the tiny body jerks were actually seizures.

She was rushed to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, where she stayed for four days while she underwent extensive tests. Two weeks later, the family were told she had had a stroke and advised they we wouldn’t know the effects for some time.

Emma’s parents, Louise Plant and Mark Willis, made sure to encourage movement in her right side as much as possible, but by the time she was three months old, noticed movement on her right was somewhat limited by comparison.

Emma received physiotherapy until she eventually began walking in March 2014 at 18 months old.

Mum-of-two Louise nominated her for the Children and Young People’s Courage Award in recognition of her determination and bravery.

Louise said: “She has had another seizure since which led doctors to diagnose her with focal epilepsy as a result of her stroke.

“Emma still suffers from short term right sided paralysis after some seizures, and recovery from her longer seizures leaves her exhausted for sometimes a week afterwards.”

She added: “Emma is a beautiful, spirited, determined, funny little girl and full of life.

“She’s a real character, with her cheeky smile and constant chatter.

“Emma is a determined little girl and I have no doubt that if she wasn’t so determined, she wouldn’t be where she is now. She’s our little miracle.”

Stroke survivor Steven Hogg, 57, from Sunderland, also received the Highly Commended Life After Stroke Award at the ceremony at the Marriott in Gateshead.

Steven had a stroke in 2005 and was told he would never walk or talk again. However, he proved everybody wrong and now volunteers for the Stroke Association.