Gosport boy suffers a stroke after catching chickenpox

Alex Roantree-Roesch (7).
Alex Roantree-Roesch (7).
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A SEVEN-year-old boy suffered a stroke – brought on by chickenpox.

Alex Roantree-Roesch suddenly collapsed in his living room and was found by dad, Mike.

He was rushed to hospital where medics confirmed he had suffered a stroke.

Doctors believe it was connected to the chickenpox he had nine months earlier.

Mike, of Coronado Road in Elson, Gosport, said: ‘It was three days before Christmas, my wife Angie was out doing some shopping at Asda and I was washing up in the kitchen.

‘I heard this bang so I went into the living room and went to pick Alex up.

‘His legs were buckled under him and he was like a rag doll.

‘I asked him where it hurt and got nothing out of him, then he let out this moan, a horrid sort of wail, and then it was like someone flicked a switch and he just switched off.’

Alex added: ‘I lost control of my hands after I was watching cartoons on telly.

‘I don’t really remember much of it.

‘I know I’m not as well as I used to be and I do find some things difficult now.’

Although rare, strokes have a recognised link to chickenpox.

According to the Stroke Association, one child in 25,000 suffers a stroke as a result of the virus because it shrinks the arteries.

Mum Angela, 35, said: ‘The doctors said the only thing they could put it down to was the chickenpox, after they had eliminated everything else.’

Alex spent weeks in hospital being closely monitored before he could be moved into a residential rehabilitation centre in Southampton where he underwent intense occupational and physiotherapy.

And it is only in the past couple of weeks that Alex has been able to come back home, although he still has to wear a splint on his right leg and has problems with dexterity in his right hand.

He still visits the rehab centre, and is on a three-month course of iron tablets as well as taking an aspirin every day.

Mum Angela added: ‘It was amazing to see him sit up for the first time, but that was a big landmark.

‘His speech is still a little bit slurred and he’s not as talkative as he used to be.

‘But he is definitely getting better all the time.

‘They think he will get most of his function back, but they don’t know if he will get all of it back.’


FRIENDS and family have rallied round to support the charity which has been helping the family after Alex’s stroke.

His aunt Barbara Roesch works at the Children’s House pre-school in West Street, Fareham, and as May was child stroke month, the nursery decided to fundraise for the charity Different Strokes.

The nursery put on several events throughout May including a cake sale and one of the boys, four-year-old Freddie King, did a sponsored swim, raising hundreds of pounds.

Angela said: ‘They’ve all become honorary events for Alex.

‘It’s just amazing what they’ve done for the charity.’

Alex’s school, Newtown Primary School, has also been supportive.

Alex has been keeping up with school work at the rehabilitation centre, but is hoping to start making short visits to his old school after half-term.

Dad Mike, 40, added: ‘They’ve been brilliant. The kids there have done countless cards for Alex.’