Just before Ella Griggs’ 13th birthday, she was rushed by ambulance from lacrosse practice to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
“I got a phone call that no parent ever wants to receive,” Ella’s mother Leslie Griggs says. “Ella was speaking incoherently, there was right side weakness and she collapsed.”
Ella was diagnosed with a massive brain bleed. She spent two weeks in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) in a medically induced coma and a drain was placed to remove excess fluid.
“It quickly escalated to a scenario where we were being told that it wasn’t ‘when’ our child will recover but ‘if’ our child is going to recover,” says Leslie.
Ella’s stroke left her with complete rightside weakness and aphasia, which is the loss of the ability to effectively express speech. These two factors left Ella trapped in her own body.
However, she astounded her care team, family and friends with her perseverance in therapy. Shortly after starting the Children’s Inpatient Rehabilitation Program, Ella was walking again. The Children’s robotics therapists continue to work with Ella, and now she is able to run.
“To see her reclaim a piece of herself from pre-event is really cool,” says Leslie. When asked how therapy has been, Ella says she loves her therapists. “I feel good … work hard, play hard.”