My 7 year-old son Jared collapsed in a playground holding his head. He could not walk. His speech was slurred. He had difficulty moving his left arm. Doctors would later tell us our 7 year-old child had suffered a stroke.
My wife and I had never heard of strokes in children. Many others - including doctors - still haven't. That is why I wrote an essay in the New York Times Science Times section Tuesday about what happened to Jared. As difficult as it is to tell Jared's story, our family wanted to shed light on the issue of strokes in infants and children that has for the most part existed in the shadows.
Our family's journey included visits with top researchers across the country in a desperate effort to try to find out why this happened to our son. While certain pre-existing conditions can cause stroke in kids, my son did not have any of those ailments. Doctors never could find a cause.
Our son spent months recovering, re-learning how to walk, to speak, to play. Our family is blessed. Jared has made a remarkable recovery.
As documented in Tuesday's Times story, pediatric stroke is estimated to be the sixth leading cause of death in children. Researchers say while uncommon, it does affect thousands of infants and children every year. And studies show incident rates are increasing due to better reporting by hospitals.
After the Times story ran, here at NBC New York we have received many calls and emails from families whose children have also been affected by pediatric stroke. Some of those children have recovered, others continue to work through resulting disabilities.
It is our hope Jared's story will help increase awareness of, and improve treatment for, children who suffer strokes.