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A stroke patient at the age of six

17 May 10 16:01 GMT
By Anna Todd
Reporter, BBC Look East

Last summer six year old Molly Moore went on her first ever pony camp.

Family video shows her and little sister Daisy racing each other, giggling and laughing, as they bounce around in their saddles.

Twelve days later Molly had a massive brain haemorrhage.

The prognosis was not good. Her motor skills were severely affected by her stroke, leaving her unable swallow, speak or walk.

But this wide-eyed joyful child is strong and determined.

At Christmas back home in Cambridgeshire Molly smiled. And then she laughed. It was all her family needed to know.

Her mother Katie is resolutely positive. "We originally said as long as we can do things with Molly that make her happy and she can tell us that she's enjoying life, then life is still worth living.

"But if she's lying in a bed and not being able to communicate and we don't know if she's trying to communicate of not … well, that's tough."

So what happened to Molly? As a toddler she suffered a small stroke.

Soon after she was diagnosed with an extremely rare condition called Phace syndrome. It is the uncommon association between large infantile birthmarks and defects of the brain, heart, eyes, skin and arteries.

Molly's birthmark had been removed long before her diagnosis - the link not made with Phace syndrome. She lived normally for the next five years.

Her parents were away for the weekend when Molly's grandparents phoned to say she had collapsed.

"Your world stops and you're driving to the hospital thinking please let her be alive when I get there," Katie remembers.

"At one point we had a priest come in. We really thought we were losing her."

In January Molly was moved to The Children's Trust, a rehabilitation centre in Surrey for brain injured children.

Every day is a working day. And every day Molly's condition improves. She can talk. It's not always clear, but her voice is now heard. She can sort shapes and eat toast. Last month she walked for the first time.

Physiotherapist Rachel Hinchliffee says it isn't easy for her.

"To begin with she was tolerating quite a long session but she wasn't actually managing to do much movement.

"The more movement that's coming back she's getting tired very quickly now, so we're trying to do lots of short sessions with her throughout the day."

Molly is not out of danger yet. There is a very real chance she may have another brain haemorrhage. But all being well, Molly is coming home in July.

Katie said: "We want to look back in however many years and say we gave Molly the best chance.

"If she can get back to 50% of how she was before, fantastic, but we're not going to settle for 40. We want 50. And if we can get 55 we'll do whatever it takes."

And Molly's plans for the summer? To get back in the saddle.

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