Healthy, fun-loving Clitheroe nine-year-old left partially paralysed and unable to talk after suffering devastating stroke
A month ago nine-year-old Hollie Walmsley was a fit and healthy girl - now the brave Clitheroe youngster is paralysed down the right-hand side of her body and unable to speak.
The pupil of Pendle Primary School, Clitheroe, who has come to be known as a "cardiac warrior", began to feel unwell at the beginning of July. She was admitted to Royal Blackburn Hospital and after undergoing a series of tests and investigations, the doctors discovered three tumours in her heart. She was immediately rushed to Alder Hey Children's Hospital, where she underwent emergency open heart surgery to remove the tumours.
A few days later the family's world came crashing down when medical experts revealed the biopsy results had returned and showed the tumours were cancerous.
Treatment then began immediately and Hollie, who has a twin sister, Sofia and seven-year-old brother, Jake, endured chemotherapy. Once the first round of treatment was complete, Hollie’s family were told she could go home until the next round. They packed everything up and were ready to spend time together as a family, however, she had an echocardiogram before leaving and the cardiologist revealed a blood clot was found in Hollie’s heart. She was unable to be discharged and instead began receiving treatment. Sadly, last week, the blood clot detached from Hollie's heart and travelled to her brain, causing the youngster to suffer a devastating stroke, which has left her paralysed all the way down the right-hand side of her body and unable to speak. Hollie now faces months of rehab to try and overcome the effects of the brain injury, as well as continuing with her cancer battle.
Her uncle, Dean Walmsley, has spoken of the family's heartbreak. He said: "She has been mostly sleeping since the stroke, but encouragingly all her vitals are stable. Her speech isn’t returning, but I think she has felt a prick in her right foot, which is a positive sign and some sensation has returned down her right side. It's heartbreaking to see her like this and her parents, siblings and loved ones are extremely upset. There is a long, windy road ahead of us, but we are remaining positive for a full recovery."
He added: "In the last day or two, Hollie has been awake a little more, and even took the decision to shave her head. Her mum, Louisa, asked her if she wanted her to cut her hair or shave it, and she bravely said shave it. It was always a worry how she was going to react to inevitably losing her hair, but she dealt with this like a true 'Cardiac Warrior'.
A family friend, Elaine Dixon has launched a fundraising page to help raise funds for Hollie’s treatment and to make the happiest memories for her as she recovers from the stroke. She wrote on the fundraising page: "What we are hoping to do is ease some of the burden on her parents by helping raise some money for them, which they can use as required whilst Hollie is in hospital and to help ensure she receives the best rehab once she is home. We want Hollie to have the absolute best quality of life as possible both now and in the future."
Dean has expressed thanks to the kind people who have already come forward to help. He explained: "So many people have offered to help. I’m a regular at the Royal British Legion in Clitheroe, where the club and members have asked if they can help in any way possible and Hollie's fundraising page has had amazing support so far."
Meanwhile, Hollie's parents, Ryan.and Louisa, have been overwhelmed by the kindness they have so far received from the local community. Louisa said: "Thank you to everyone for their support and donations during this horrendous time in our lives. We are grateful to each and every one of you. Pendle Primary have supported us by keeping regular contact with all the family. They have provided emotional support for Sofia and Jake - offering their time personally and collectively over the summer holidays. Hollie's classmates have sent her cards and her current teacher, Mr Dibb, plus the teachers and headteacher Mrs Nunns have video-called her."
Anyone wishing to support the family is asked to donate by CLICKING HERE