Harmony Hoskin was like any other excited preppy heading off to school this year, skipping and giggling with her friends. The next time her mum saw the five-year-old she was inconsolable, unable to smile and paralysed on her left side.
Before I met the Hoskin family, I’d never heard of childhood stroke, and chances are, neither have you. But her parents are hoping by sharing her story they can raise awareness of this rare affliction.
In February this year, Harmony Hoskin headed off to school in country Victoria, but by the end of the day she’d collapsed, and was flown to hospital, where it was confirmed the little girl had suffered a stroke.
“That’s when I collapsed to the floor because all of the emotion,” Harmony’s mum Shanay tells us. “That’s when I went down. Thinking what’s going to happen now, is she going to be alright? Is she going to move again, is she going to talk again?”
The brave little girl has endured hours of rehabilitation, and is now able to walk again with the aid of a splint, but still relies mostly on a wheelchair. Her speech is slowly returning, and so is that infectious smile.
Harmony’s family is sharing her story, in a bid to raise the profile of childhood stroke.
“About two in every 100,000 kids will have a stroke. They say it’s not something that you see every day. The medication is still a test as to whether it will work for them,” says Shanay.
Meanwhile, friends have rallied to help raise funds for the struggling family, as medical bills pile up. Shanay says: “She’s got one pair of shoes because it’s hard to find any. She needs a size 13 for the splint and then another pair of shoes for her other foot.”
Friend Natasha Hoekstra is heading a campaign to help the family with Harmony’s medical expenses.
“A wheelchair for Harmony, we’ve got to look at things like swimming lessons to help with strengthening the muscles, not sure if we’re going to need any house modifications but just looking long term to help them with security, ” Natasha tells Babyology.
Anyone wanting to donate can find the details at Friends of Harmony, a Facebook page set up to help the family.