A teenager has been forced to rebuild his life after a rare condition sparked a sudden life-threatening bleed on his brain. Stephen Gaskin, 14, has had to re-learn walking, reading and writing all over again after he was found unconscious at his home in Herne Bay, Kent, on September 9 last year.
He had initially complained of suffering an intense painful headache before he was discovered, with emergency services racing to his home.
Stephen was immediately airlifted to King’s College Hospital in London for life-saving treatment and it is here that doctors discovered he suffered from a very rare condition called arteriovenous malformation (AVM) which had led to a large bleed on his brain.
His father Tom Gaskin, 35, said the incident for his son had come “totally out of the blue” as he had been generally healthy and happy before.
After immediate treatment and scans, Stephen faced months in hospital and rehabilitation with extensive treatments including four major surgeries, five angiograms, a lumbar puncture, approximately 10 CT scans, seven MRIs and at least four X-rays.
But, incredibly, despite all the hurdles he has faced Stephen is now putting his life back together and is grasping reading and writing for the second time in his life.
His dad Mr Gaskin told KentLive: “Remarkably, he’s actually come out of this quite well, it could have been a lot worse.
“He’s got what’s called right-sided ataxia and basically he’s had to learn to do things again such as walking, reading, writing, hand-to-eye coordination.
“Because of where it was, it’s affected more the right side of his body but he is able to walk. He’s got a bit of palsy on the right side of his face from such a significant bleed, but it could have been much worse.”
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Recounting his experience, Stephen, who is a member of the 6th Whitstable Scout Troop, said he had to “dig deep” to get through everything that had happened to him.
He said: “It was horrible, but I felt better when my family were there with me. I had lots of people taking tests and doing procedures, I had to dig deep to get through it.
“I missed school, I missed my friends and family, I missed seeing everyone. I missed my Xbox, my friends at police cadets and scouts. I watched a lot of Top Gear and l listened to audiobooks to help me relax.
“I liked having my mum and dad there with me and now it is over and I can move on. I also had some lovely nurses and people looking after me. They made me laugh and bought me sweets. It was hard but I am alive today because of everyone.”
Stephen’s scout troop will be awarding him an accolade for his incredible bravery and resilience while in hospital. He is also a member of the police cadets and has dreams of one day becoming a chef.
He said: “I want to make lots of nice meals for people. I think I would like to own a pub, and serve pub grub.”
Mr Gaskin has since set up a GoFundMe page to raise funds for the Air Ambulance which helped his son, the page can be found here.