Hello friends and family, Many of you know that our son Danny had a stroke at the age of 2. Danny is now 16 and in 10th grade. It has been a journey we never imagined taking but Danny is the happiest kid we know. Danny is big into sports as is our whole family. He excels in tennis, basketball, track and table tennis. He plays on teams with kids who do not have disabilities. This year, Danny played for the High School Varsity Tennis team. Danny played 4th doubles and won a silver in the regional tournament. His high school team earned enough points to advance to the State tournament in Midland, MI. Danny and his partner were one of 3 flights to win a match at the tournament helping the team place 12th overall in the state. Danny increasd his tennis training this year by joining the United States Tennis Association. He has competed in three USTA tournaments facing some of the toughest competition in the midwest. He has received two highly selective sportsmanship awards. He also placed 3rd in a local 18U boys league. Danny will compete once again in the National Junior Disability Championships this summer where he will compete in track and field and table tennis. He dreams of making the US Paralympic Team and competing in the 2016 games in Brazil. Danny is also on a local basketball team and is throwing the shot put and discus for the high school track team. He is really looking forward to getting his driver's license and has been driving with his permit for almost a year. He just needs to take his road test and he will be flying solo. Danny does not let his paralyzed arm or slight limp slow him down. Danny has lots of friends, enjoys school and is a model student. Learning takes more time for Danny than other students but he is a hard worker, never complains and his teachers love him.
Over the past 14 years or so since we first met, our group has grown into the thousands and serves families all over the world. I often have thought how tremendously fortunate I was to have this new resource, right when I needed it. Without CHASA and the friendships I made through this amazing group, I would have been stumbling around in the dark to understand the many ways a stroke can affect a child and what to do about it. Hemiplegia was a word we soon mastered, describing the typical one-sided weakness or paralysis following a stroke. But the physical disability was only the tip of the iceberg. When there is a brain injury, such as what happens during a stroke, wherever the brain is involved, so too might the injury impact: movement, language, learning, hearing, vision, emotions, intellect and social awareness.
The best part about my association with CHASA has been the privilege my family and I have had in getting to know personally, a large group of families affected by childhood stroke. These are not kids you need to feel sorry for. They are strong and insightful individuals. And through the efforts of CHASA, they do not have to feel isolated and alone.
So here is what CHASA does:
• CHASA provides social opportunities for our children to meet and learn from each other.
• CHASA provides support for parents.
• CHASA provides educational scholarships for young people who have been touched by childhood stroke.
• CHASA works to build awareness of childhood stroke so that other children can receive prompt medical attention and a fast diagnosis in the event of a stroke.
• And CHASA is taking initiatives to fund and encourage research into pediatric stroke, so that childhood stroke might one day be prevented and so that there will be better treatment, both immediately following a stroke to minimize the damage and long-term to treat the effects of the stroke and help the child function more efficiently in this world.
IN October of 2010 our little coalition of families committed $40,000 to co-sponsor with NIH and the Child Neurology Society the 2010 Neurobiology of Disease in Children symposium. A portion of CHASA's sponsorship was used to bring in 20 young investigators specifically interested in pediatric stroke research. The symposium featured presentations from pediatric stroke researchers worldwide and provide hundreds of child neurologists the latest research on pediatric stroke. I was humbled and honored when I was asked by chasa to attend the event and be a keynote speaker. I shared our story as well as all the great work that CHASA does with hundreds of doctors. It was an experience I will never forget.
We joined CHASA 14 years ago for support and to learn about childhood stroke. We have made friends from all over the world who have awesome kids just like ours. The entire organization is run by volunteers and funds have come from small grass roots efforts such as my yearly May fundraiser in honor of National Stroke Awareness month.
Please consider donating today to help CHASA increase it's efforts and help more families. To learn more about CHASA please visit www.chasa.org.
Our sincerest gratitude for your support. Patti, Mike, Joe, Danny and Robbie Scrivano