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Brendon’s Story

This is Brendon. Before Brendon was born he suffered a STROKE. It is important for us to share his story so we can raise awareness that CHILDREN can suffer a STROKE. Please share Brendon's story to help in our mission.  Brendon's Smile...Raising Awareness for Childhood Stroke Foundation was created to raise awareness and educate EVERYONE about stroke in children.  For more information visit www.BrendonsSmile.org.

Brendon was born a SURVIVOR and we are so blessed to have him in our lives.

At 19 months of age Brendon was diagnosed as having suffered a stroke while in utero. As a result of the stroke he has been diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, Right Hemiparesis, Muscular Scoliosis, Speech Apraxia and Aphasia. Brendon currently wears braces on both feet and a splint on his right hand. Brendon is two years old and is only able to say a few words. He struggles with his inablility to vocalize and gets very frustrated with himself. He tries with everything he has to tell the people he loves what he is thinking. Brendon has a gorgeous smile and spirit that you can see by looking into his eyes. Through all of his frustration he manages to keep on smiling. Ask any one who knows him...he lights up a room. His spirit keeps us going!

It's important for every parent to know that doctors may not recognize the symptoms of stroke in children. Brendon should have been diagnosed much earlier than when he was. As a new mother I was told I was overly "paranoid." Due to lack of a diagnosis by several doctors and specialists Brendon was deinied the treatment he so much deserves.

You are invited to share Brendon's journey with us.

It is my goal to share with you every step of Brendon's journey so you understand what it is like to advocate for a child you love and to raise awareness. I don't want another child to be denied what is their's!

Please e-mail us at BrendonsSmile@yahoo.com for any suggestions you may have on helping us spread the word.

Thank you!

Jessica & Stephen Spear

Latest Journal Update

The Other Category of Stroke Often Missed

There is an entire category of stroke that is, more often than not, missed when referring to strokes as a whole.

I am speaking in regards to strokes in babies, even unborn, and children – a category referred to as pediatric stroke.

Most people who have educated themselves on the topic of stroke may have become conscious of these catch phrases: “Time is Brain” or “Time Lost is Brain Lost”. These phrases are to get people to IMMEDIATELY recognize the signs and symptoms of a stroke so they will act fast. However, strokes in newborns present signs and symptoms in a very different way than in older children and adults. It is not uncommon for strokes to be missed entirely in children, regardless of age.

The risk factors and the causes of stroke in newborns and children are different than in adults. Medications often used to treat strokes in adults cannot necessarily be used in children, especially very young children.

It seems the current data on strokes does not take into consideration this segment of the population; therefore, results in the data can be skewed. The United States, to date, does not have a data base for pediatric stroke.

With publications generalizing strokes as a whole a disclaimer is needed for pediatrics until more information is gathered, properly reported and inclusive of all the categories of strokes.

In order to obtain more accurate data, to better recognize, diagnose and appropriately treat children who suffer strokes, there is a desperate need for the following:

• An up to date data base which includes pediatric stroke; 
• More awareness about how to recognize the signs and 
  symptoms of stroke in pediatrics; 
• More education about pediatric stroke; and
• More research.

As the mother of a perinatal stroke survivor, it has haunted me over the years that my 9 year-old son and countless others like him have been denied treatments and therapies. This is due to lack of awareness and knowledge about strokes in pediatrics. 

Since Brendon’s diagnosis, in 2007, it has been my mission to raise awareness and to educate others about strokes in pediatrics. I use my voice to make a difference for my son, children like him, their families, and for the medical community. 

You can be a voice for our children simply by sharing this article. It is time that strokes in pediatrics is acknowledged and included with all information about strokes. 

Together we are "striving for more for pediatric stroke".

Knowledge is power!

Jessica J. Spear

For more information about strokes in pediatric visit www.brendonssmile.org
 and www.iapediatricstroke.org