This article has not yet been published but it was submitted to Tom Ward at the Valley Breeze recently by Sharon Coyle, mother of Jamie Coyle, a young stroke survivor from Cumberland,RI. I have had the pleasure to get to know Jamie and her family over these past several years. If you remember, I originally featured Jamie’s story on my blog several years ago– here’s the link to that post with details on her story. I hope that by sharing this you get a sense of what a family of a young stroke survivor might go through, especially when they still do not know what caused Jamie’s stroke.
Other Cumberland families of young stroke survivors, like Tyler Perry in town have similar stories, and more questions than answers.
“I have been a Cumberland resident for 10 years now. I also grew up in Cumberland and my mother moved us away when I was 13 years old. My husband Jim and I have 3 children ages 21-19 and 14. Two years ago something happened to our family that has changed us forever. Our daughter Jamie was competing in a hockey tournament in Marlboro Mass. when she suffered a stroke at 12 years old. Her story can be found on fightfor7.com. In the beginning she really didn’t want to share her story with everyone at school however events have occurred to make her change her mind. That happened when we started hearing of other children in this town with the same story. We contacted the Health Department back in 2008. We also contacted the Center of Disease Control along with the President of the United States.
There have been 12 pedi strokes in our town in the past two and a half years. The center of disease control along with the health department have not tested anything as of yet. Jamie and I did put in a request to have the water, soil, and air tested. We are still waiting for this to take place. It makes you wonder what number of children they are waiting for to realize we have a situation on our hands. Believe me the last thing we want is to scare people. Our goal is to educate everyone in town to know the signs and act quickly to save a child. Most people would never think that a child can suffer a stroke. My family certainly didn’t. I remember the day 8-9-08 like it was yesterday. Imagine seeing your healthy child collapse during a sporting event. My husband and I new something was wrong and we rushed down to the bench. To our horror the coach from the opposing team was screaming at the ref to give our team a delay of game penalty. The Vermont coach was also telling the ref to move Jamie to the back bench in order for the game to continue. Sounds crazy right? This is a prime example why Jamie wants to educate parents, coaches, and teachers alike. Jamie was awake the entire time and could hear everything the coaches were saying. She was greatful that one of her coaches on the bench that day is the captain of EMT.’s in our town here. He of course had no intentions of moving her and summoned the ref to call 911 saving her life.
Two years into her ordeal and Jamie is ready to make a public service announcement to educate and possibly save others. We do not want to see one more family have to walk down this road. Jamie and I strongly feel to do testing even if we never find a link to the environment is better than doing nothing at all. We feel that talking about this problem can help families in many ways. Health coverage hardly covers the many needs for these children or new technology which could prove to be very beneficial to the children’s recovery. These children have their whole lives ahead of them and as a community and a state we should all do whatever humanly possible to help them succeed. They are our future. Our hopes are that every parent that reads this letter would like to meet with Jamie and see what role they could play to help her save others from the same fate. When a group of mothers assemble for the sake of the children the possibilities are endless. Mothers can move mountains together and suddenly the red tape disappears and money is no longer the issue. There is much more to be discussed. Please help Jamie to help others.”