A mum thought her son was just ‘being silly’ when he suffered a stroke at his seventh birthday party.
Michelle Davenport, 37, said Max had been ‘absolutely fine’ running around with friends during a game called The Raid, in which they pelted each other with foam bullets, in September 2016.
He then complained he had a headache while eating his lunch, before she and husband Gary, 48, spotted him ‘twitching’ on the floor.
The schoolboy was struggling to speak and couldn’t move his left arm, while his parents noticed his mouth had drooped ‘like in the adverts’.
Michelle said: ‘I thought he was being silly. My husband went over to him to pick him up. I looked at Max and he was completely blank, staring through me.
‘He was wide eyed but there was nothing there – he was completely lifeless but staring at me.’
Michelle told the Sunday Mirror that the incident left her ‘petrified’, describing it as the ‘most frightening thing ever’.
Max was first rushed to the Royal Surrey in Guilford, where he underwent a CT scan.
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He was then blue-lighted to Southampton Children’s Hospital, where an MRI scan confirmed he had suffered a ischaemic stroke.
An ischaemic stroke happens when the blood supply to the brain is cut off or severely reduced, due to an artery or small vessel becoming blocked.
Max instantly lost the ability to walk after the stroke, and went on to spend six months in hospital, with three months on a ward before being transferred to a rehabilitation centre.
He also underwent psychological treatment to help him deal with the impact of the stroke.
Michelle, from Hampshire, stayed with her son for the duration at a Ronald McDonald House, funded by the charity.
It took Max around eight weeks to learn to walk again with assistance, with his mum now describing him as ‘very able with walking’.
However, he has been left with no movement in his left foot, no movement in his left hand and wrist, and limited movement in his left elbow and shoulder.
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He wears a splint on his arm and leg to keep his limbs from moving and causing further injury.
Michelle is now urging other parents to look out for symptoms of a stroke, and make sure they recognise the signs.
She said: ‘Max said to me the other day “if you had scrap metal what would you do with it? If I did, I would make a time machine and go back seven years and enjoy moving my hands as much as I could”.
‘Hearing that and seeing him not able to do certain things is really upsetting – but I think of how lucky he is and how he has recovered.
‘It’s a miracle how you see him now compared to before. He is a very resilient and amazing little boy.’
For more information about strokes, you can visit the Stroke Association here.