Ten years after stroke, local boy is happy, healthy

By Jillian Marshall

May 7, 2014 Updated May 8, 2014 at 10:08 AM EDT

Maine, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Ryan McLean is now an average healthy boy. There’s almost no sign he had a stroke before he was born.

Ryan wasn't diagnosed with having had a stroke until two years after he was born, when his mom noticed signs of slow development.

"As an infant he didn't hit his milestones typically when kids do, like rolling over, sitting up, crawling, walking," said Molly McLean, Ryan's mother.

Ryan was diagnosed with having a stroke while in the womb. He also developed a form of Cerebral Palsy because of the stroke.

Now, he looks and acts like any average 10-year-old boy. McLean credits more than five years of various therapies, specifically working on his right hand and foot skills and his speech.

"I can't really write with my right hand or it would be like a big blob," said Ryan, "and when I walk or run my foot, it usually turns in."

Strokes are the fourth leading cause of death in the United States and most of them are preventable, health officials say. May is National Stroke Awareness Month.

According to the National Stroke Association, a stroke happens when a blood clot blocks an artery, or a blood vessel breaks, interrupting blood flow to part of the brain.

"Strokes effect brain tissue and function so when you do lose that type of tissue or function, you could lose cognition or motor or sensory type of things," said Lourdes Registered Nurse Kelly Swartz.

Swartz said on average there are 15-20 stroke patients in the ER a week.

She recommends using the acronym FAST to remember symptoms of a stroke: F for any numbness or weakness in the face, A for numbness or weakness in arms, S for trouble speaking, and T for time - to seek medical attention right away.

Up to 80 percent of all strokes are preventable.

Stopping smoking, eating healthy and treating high blood pressure are some of the ways to prevent a stroke.

To learn more about strokes and how to prevent them, click here.

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