How a bake-off is helping to cure Ella, a stroke victim at just 10
Ella Woodward was rushed to hospital in the middle of the night after a tangle of abnormal blood vessels in her brain sparked a stroke.
The youngster, who loved rhythmic gymnastics and playing hockey, was left unable to walk, use her right arm and had difficulty speaking.
But after taking up baking as a method to improve her motor skills, Ella started to regain her strength and was sent home from Sheffield Children’s Hospital, after five weeks.
Her mother, Laura Parks, 30, now says her daughter has been able to build on her coordination in her hands and has even baked cakes for hospital staff.
Ms Parks, a former financial advisor, said her daughter is a fan of hit show Great British Bake Off and loves to cook brownies.
She said: “We used to make chocolate lollipops in the hospital as part of Ella’s occupational therapy.
“We bought an old whisk and used it to help her coordination with both hands.
“She would use one hand and then swap to build up her strength. When Ella came home for the weekend we would bake cakes for all the staff.”
Ms Parks, of Chesterfield, said the family were left in complete shock after Ella’s stroke but now the youngster, who has two sisters, is determined to get better and raise money for charity.
She said: “It was completely out of the blue and a big shock to the system.
“It happened seven months ago but Ella is already back in school. She has just done her SATs. She is so determined.
“Her speech is almost back to normal but her reading is a bit slower. She can walk but does have a limp. She is a little fighter.”
Assessments at Sheffield Children’s Hospital revealed she had suffered an arteriovenous malformation (AVM).
Ella underwent life-saving brain surgery but due to her condition deteriorating she began the huge challenge of rehabilitation.
With the combined efforts of physiotherapists, occupational therapists, psychologists, teachers, consultants, nurses and play specialists she was able to slowly regain her coordination.
Laura and partner Dan Owen, 28, who cares for children with disabilities, now want to raise as much money as they can for charity.
Laura added: “We are all so proud of her. Every time she learns how to do something she says it’s a new trick.
“The stroke has changed the way she does things and all she wants to do is make money for charity. When we walk past Sheffield Children’s Hospital we always have to put money in the charity boxes.”
The family are organising a colour run and bake sale for the hospital.