Tuesday 20 February 2018

Courage honour for boy who couldn't walk after stroke

Catherine Manning and her son Oran, who had a stroke last year, pictured in their home in Masseytown, Macroom, Co Cork. Oran will receive the 'Children's Bravery' prize at the National
Stroke Awards in Dublin's Mansion House today
Catherine Manning and her son Oran, who had a stroke last year, pictured in their home in Masseytown, Macroom, Co Cork. Oran will receive the 'Children's Bravery' prize at the National Stroke Awards in Dublin's Mansion House today

Michael McHale

IT would be every parent's worst nightmare, if more families knew it could happen.

When then six-year-old Oran Manning complained of a stomach ache in June 2009, his mother sent him to bed thinking little of it. But over the next few hours the left side of his face collapsed while his limbs became weak.

Oran had a stroke, and was rushed from his home in Masseytown, Macroom, Co Cork, to Cork University Hospital. "It's when you're told he's had a stroke, that's when the shock sets in," mum Catherine Manning said about her son's grim condition.

"I never thought it could happen to a young boy."

Oran lay in his hospital bed in fear and confusion as, fully conscious, he couldn't move his left leg or arm.

It took three weeks before the youngster could be released from hospital, and three months until he could kick a football.

But after a year of physiotherapy, Oran is as fit as he was before. But it is still not clear what caused the stroke.

"Oran's a great boy. He never complained when he was sick," Ms Manning explained. "It was terrifying for him -- suddenly he couldn't walk, he couldn't talk, but he's made a full recovery."

Joined by his mother, father Martin and 12-week-old sister Ella, Oran is to be honoured for his courage at a special awards ceremony today in Dublin's Mansion House.

The first-ever National Stroke Awards will honour the courage of stroke victims as well as some who have supported others left badly affected by the condition.

Oran will share the 'Children's Bravery' prize at the awards being organised by the Irish Heart Foundation (IHF) and healthcare firm Novartis.

"Although stroke is the third biggest killer in Ireland and the biggest cause of severe disability, it isn't talked about enough at any level in Irish society," IHF head Michael O'Shea said.

"This has resulted in many myths about the disease -- such as stroke only happens to older people. These awards aim to promote more positive images of life after stroke."

Awards for adult bravery, carers and support groups will also be handed out at the ceremony.

In Ireland, 10,000 people suffer a stroke annually, while one in four of these die as a result. While there are no figures for how many children in Ireland are affected by stroke, in the UK five children every week suffer from the condition.

The youngest known Irish stroke patient is Oscar Power, from Cork, who was hit with the illness last year when he was just two years old. He has made a full recovery, and is expected to attend today's awards.

Irish Independent

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