Northern Ireland news

Toddler who suffered strokes at birth recognised for courage

Two-year-old Parker McGreevy
By Mairead Holland

A TODDLER who suffered multiple strokes at birth has been celebrated for his bravery after defying the odds to make a remarkable recovery.

Two-year-old Parker McGreevy from north Belfast was recognised at the Stroke Association’s Life After Stroke Awards.

The event, which took place at Belfast Harbour Office, celebrates the achievements of local stroke survivors, carers, medical professionals and volunteers in Northern Ireland.

As a special treat, Parker, who is a big Fireman Sam fan, paid a visit to Springfield Road Fire Station where he met firefighters.

The little boy was nominated by his proud parents Louise and Simon as well as his aunt Sarah Jane.

His mum Louise McCrory told of how she had an emergency caesarean due to complications with her pregnancy and her son suffered multiple strokes when he was born.

"It was a very scary time. I didn’t realise that a baby could have a stroke so it was shocking for all of us," she said.

"Parker spent nine days in the neonatal unit and the medical staff told us that he would need lots of rehabilitation and support.

"We didn’t know what the future held for Parker - whether he would be able to walk or talk.

"He was discharged from hospital and over the last two years he has attended rounds of physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and lots of appointments as doctors measured his growth and monitored his development.

"It’s been tough but Parker is made of strong stuff."

She said Parker had "gone from strength to strength - sitting up unaided at 11 months, crawling for his first birthday and walking on his own at 15 months".

"He loves to play and sing and loves cartoons, especially Fireman Sam and Peppa Pig," she said.

"We could not be happier or prouder of how far he has come.

"From being told that the professionals were 'pessimistic' about Parker’s future at seven months to watching our beautiful, happy boy now - it is amazing."

Brenda Maguire from the Stroke Association said many people think strokes only happen to older people, so a stroke in a baby or child can come as a "big shock".

"There are around 400 childhood strokes every year across the UK and although childhood stroke is rare we know that the consequences can be devastating for those children and their families," she said.

"Parker is responding really well to therapy and making excellent progress. His family’s dedication has helped him to make the best recovery possible and long may this continue."

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