THE aunt of a schoolboy who suffered a stroke brought on by chicken pox will take on the Great South Run to raise awareness of the condition.
Barbara Roesch, from Southsea, is campaigning for children to be vaccinated against the condition after her nephew Alex Roesch suffered a stroke at the age of seven.
It was a huge shock to us because a stroke is not something you associate with someone so young.Barbara Roesch
Little Alex was left paralysed from an ischemic stroke — which happens when blood vessels narrow — and had to learn to walk and talk again.
Now five years on Barbara is aiming to finish the 10-mile run and raise £1,500 to pay for further physio treatment.
She said: ‘Alex collapsed suddenly at home and after we got to hospital, doctors confirmed that he had suffered a stroke. It was a huge shock to us because a stroke is not something you associate with someone so young.
‘The doctors said the only cause of the stroke could have been that the virus from chicken pox that he suffered earlier in the year was still in his spine.
‘Alex suffered memory loss as well as the ability to speak and it was awful for everyone as he struggled to remember things at first.
‘He suffered brain damage and will be physically disabled for life as he still has a weakness on his right side.’
After the stroke Alex spent five months in hospital, and doctors said it was down to the chicken pox virus still being present in his body.
Alex, now 12, has made strong progress but needs more funding for treatment, which his mum Angela Roesch is supporting him through.
Barbara, 37, said: ‘I want to try to raise enough money to support Alex and his mum Angela through more physiotherapy and treatments as although the NHS have helped us come a long way, the support has been scaled back.’
On October 22 Barbara will join 20,000 other runners to take on the course around Portsmouth. Runners will pass landmarks including the Spinnaker Tower.
Alex and his family have been supported by stroke charity the Arni Institute.
It helps give rehabilitation to people with brain injuries.
Barbara added: ‘Alex’s right hand tends to claw due to his condition and without daily physiotherapy it becomes very stiff and difficult for him to open. He’s had all the physio he can receive for free, so by raising some money I hope we can cover this for the next year.’