Ham Lake boy, 9, recovers from rare stroke - KMSP-TV

Ham Lake boy, 9, recovers from rare stroke

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HAM LAKE, Minn. (KMSP) -

When most people think of strokes, they think of aging parents or grandparents and not a child, but a 9-year-old Ham Lake boy survived a rare stroke and will soon be a featured guest at the Strides for Stroke walk.

Ethan Fritts has made a remarkable recovery, running and laughing in his neighborhood as though nothing ever happened.

"Just energetic and has fun and loves life and wants to be busy all the time," said Amity Fritts of her son.

He loves Legos, the Twins, and running around with his brother and two sisters, but what started as a simple headache in September slowed him down for a while.

"He just grabbed his head … and said, 'My head hurts,'" Amity Fritts recalled. "Put him to the ground."

As an ambulance rushed Ethan to the hospital, his parents feared they were watching him slip away.

"We could literally see his body shutting down," Doyle Fritts told FOX 9 News.

At the hospital, Doyle and Amity Fritts were told their son had suffered a stroke.

"It was absolutely devastating, almost to the point of unbelievable," Doyle Fritts said.

With their 9-year-old son on life support in grave condition, doctors performed a rare surgery rarely done on children. That procedure, which his mother calls a "miracle," saved Ethan's life.

"He has recovered remarkably well -- miraculously well," said Doyle Fritts.

On Saturday, Ethan Fritts will be honored for his courage and bravery during his recovery at the annual Strides for Stroke walk, which is sponsored by FOX 9 News.

"The stroke walk is great to raise awareness and show that it happens to kids too," said Doyle Fritts.

The family wanted to share their story so that others will remember to have faith and believe even when all seems lost.

"I truly believe God reached down and touched our son and saved him," Doyle Fritts said. "We are fortunate we can see a miracle play out right in front of our very eyes."

An abnormality in the vertebra caused the rare condition, and while there are no guarantees he may not suffer another stroke in the future, it's plain to see that he's doing well in the now.

Ethan Fritts also wanted to send well wishes to any children who may be watching from a hospital bed, saying, "I hope you feel better."

Online resource:

- Register for Strides for Stroke: http://www.strokemn.org/

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