• A 14-year-old collapsed without warning during her Math class
  • She was no longer able to stand and could not even lift her arm
  • The girl suffered from pediatric stroke, a rare but not an impossible occurrence

A 14-year-old Michigan student hopes to increase public awareness about pediatric stroke after experiencing it in January while attending her Math class.

Zosia Wasylewski recalled that when she collapsed at the time, she still managed to let out a joke that she was having a stroke. The 14-year-old student actually did not have any idea that is exactly what was happening to her.

The teenager has recovered since and now, the girl and her family are busy raising awareness about stroke warning signs that people of any age may experience. Her mom, Anna Wasylewski, a resident of Boyne Falls, Michigan, told TODAY that their surgeon asked them to always remember the FAST acronym. "If someone has the symptoms, call 911. You can save someone's life," she said.

FAST means facial drooping, arm weakness, slurred speech, and time, which translate to quick action mean better results. For Dr. Justin Singer, Spectrum Health's director of vascular neurosurgery, the case of Zosia is interesting as she managed to let out a joke that she's having a stroke in the middle of an attack.

"The fact they called 911 and got her to a hospital quickly really made all the difference," Dr. Singer told TODAY.

raising pediatric stroke awareness
raising pediatric stroke awareness VSRao - Pixabay

Collapsing In Class

Witnesses say the 14-year-old was sitting on the floor with a couple of friends, during geometry class, and playing a game when she suddenly slumped over and collapsed into one of her friends.

Initially, they made light of the matter but when it was time for them to return to their seats, Zosia could not get up. She said she could not move her left arm and leg.

"When I couldn't stand up, people had to try to help me, and then I fell back down as they got me into my seat. They were all looking at me and I said I felt like I was having a stroke," she told TODAY.

Calling Emergency Services

The teacher asked her if Zosia wanted her to call the office and the young girl said yes. She said everything was a haze to her and at the time, she had no idea what happened. When the 14-year-old found difficulty in walking to the office, some of her classmates carried her down and waited for an ambulance to get her.

Her dad, Frank Wasylewski, revealed that his daughter was very scared at the time.

"She was unable to move anything or even lift up her arm," Frank, in an interview with TODAY, said.

Rare Condition

According to Dr. Singer, pediatric stroke is rare. He said that data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show around 25 out of 100,000 kids below the age of 18 experience stroke each year, while almost 800,000 adults have it annually.

"Pediatric stroke ends up being a missed opportunity when children come in too late for treatment," Dr. Singer explained.

When Zosia arrived at the hospital, her brain's CT scan revealed that she was right and that she did suffer a stroke due to a blocked artery. When Dr. Singer saw her CT scans, he knew immediately that he needed to get rid of the blood clot in her cerebral artery through mechanical thrombectomy, a minimally invasive procedure.

Zosia revealed she is glad to be alive. The girl shared her story so everyone is aware that pediatric stroke can happen to anyone.

"I didn't expect a stroke to happen to me. You can't really predict that it can happen, but you can recover from it," TODAY quoted the 14-year-old, as saying.