Ten-year-old stroke victim on road to recovery after life-saving brain surgery

Ella Woodward with her baked creations
Ella Woodward with her baked creations

A mother has told of the terrifying moment she discovered her ten-year-old daughter was having a stroke - which left her unable to walk, talk and with a life-threatening bleed on the brain.

Ella Woodward, of Duckmanton, suffered with a condition that affects less than one per cent of the population. Abnormal blood vessels in her head, created a ‘ticking time bomb’ which went off in the middle of the night.

Mum Laura said: “I was woken by Ella making strange noises and I just knew something wasn’t right.”

Ella Woodward was rushed to Chesterfield Royal Infirmary in the middle of the night in October last year after a tangle of abnormal blood vessels in her brain sparked the stroke.

An assessment at Sheffield Children’s Hospital revealed she had suffered an arteriovenous malformation (AVM).

The youngster, who until that point loved rhythmic gymnastics and playing hockey, was left unable to walk, use her right arm and with difficulty speaking.

After her lifesaving brain surgery due to Ella’s condition deteriorating Ella began the huge challenge of rehabilitation.

And with the combined efforts of physiotherapists, occupational therapists, psychologists, teachers, consultants, nurses and play specialists Ella was able to slowly regain her coordination.

Using baking as a method to improve her motor skills, Ella went from strength-to-strength, and five weeks after she was admitted she was sent home from hospital.

Mum Laura, said: “We used to make chocolate lollipops in the hospital as part of Ella’s occupational therapy.

“We bought an old whisk and used it to help her coordination with both hands.

“She would use one hand and then swap to build up her strength. When Ella came home for the weekend we would bake cakes for all the staff.”

Laura is now organising a bake sale for Bake it Better - a charity appeal which aims to raise £10m regionally to transform Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

To find out more about the appeal click here.