Mother asking for help after son suffers brain aneurysm

An Ottawa mother is hoping to raise money to help her seven-year-old son recover after he suffered a brain aneurysm in June on the way to school.
Stittsville mother trying to raise funds to help her son with his therapy. 2:24

An Ottawa mother is hoping to raise money to help her seven-year-old son recover after he suffered a brain aneurysm this summer on the way to school.

Shelley Black said she and her son Anderson were walking up the stairs of his elementary school in June when he suffered a massive stroke after he had a brain aneurysm. 
Shelley Black with her son Anderson Bihler. The seven-year-old suffered a brain aneurysm earlier this summer. (CBC)

Brain aneurysms — when blood vessels balloon and burst — are exceedingly rare in children.

Black said the expression of pain on her son is seared in her memory.

"He was screaming the most horrific screams and when we were in the ambulance it was obvious he had lost his sight and he was vomiting," said Black.

Surgeons at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario clamped the ruptured artery and then removed part of his skull to accommodate his swelling brain.  After the surgery he was immediately put in a medically induced coma.

Black said when he woke 12 days later, she had been warned her son may not be able to speak or breathe on his own when they removed the breathing tubes.

'A miraculous day'

"That day turned out to be a miraculous day. He drew his own breath and picked up a toy car and we felt that recovery was possible for our boy," she said.

"Hours later he even spoke. He said the most magical word. Mom."

Black said half of Anderson's body was paralyzed by the stroke, but in the nine weeks he was hospitalized he exceeded the doctor's expectations and regained speech and some mobility on the left side of his body.

He still cannot stand on his own, however, and he said he wants to do things like ride a bike and go to bed without help.

While at CHEO Anderson was receiving two hours of neurophysiotherapy a day and now receives two hours a week covered through OHIP.

But Black, a single mother, said she would like to be able to afford more sessions to aid her son's recovery but cannot afford them.

She has turned to family, friends and his school for support, but is now trying to raise money for her son's treatment and to help them stay in their current home through the charitable website Indigo Go.