Danielle Starrett and Sean McInnes with their daughter Lilly Starrett-McInnes. Picture: Tony Martin
Danielle Starrett and Sean McInnes with their daughter Lilly Starrett-McInnes. Picture: Tony Martin

Mum warns parents after bub’s shock diagnosis

LITTLE Lilly Starrett was like any other 16-month-old – happy and healthy.

Her mother, Danielle Starrett from Sarina, never imagined she would be one of 600 Australian children each year to suffer a stroke.

In 2017, Lilly fell over and began to cry.

“My partner Sean and I noticed her arm was limp so we took her to hospital,” she said.

Doctors assessed Lilly and thought she may have suffered a fracture, although X-rays showed no break.

She was sent home to recover, with her tiny arm in a little sling.

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The next morning, Lilly’s face had dropped, her arm was still slack, and she couldn’t stand.

“We took her to our GP and he thought Lilly had a stroke,” she said.

Danielle Starrett and her daughter Lilly Starrett-McInnes. Picture: Tony Martin
Danielle Starrett and her daughter Lilly Starrett-McInnes. Picture: Tony Martin

Lilly had a CT scan on her brain and was flown to Brisbane for an MRI.

There for two weeks, doctors believed Lilly had a blood clot which had cleared up.

The scan revealed brain damage and doctors confirmed Lilly had suffered a stroke, but the cause wasn’t clear.

“I burst into tears. I had no idea children could have strokes,” Ms Starrett said.

While in Brisbane, Lilly fell into a coma for 24 hours.

When she woke, she had lost the ability to walk and use her right hand.

Danielle Starrett and her daughter Lilly Starrett-McInnes. Picture: Tony Martin
Danielle Starrett and her daughter Lilly Starrett-McInnes. Picture: Tony Martin

Lilly, now four, is still living with the affects of her stroke.

She has weakened eyesight, her hearing is fading, and she requires Botox injections every three months to treat muscle tightening.

She also attends physiotherapy and occupational therapy fortnightly, and has appointments with Brisbane doctors to assess her foot, which will eventually need surgery.

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“She’s learned how to walk again, how to use her arm and leg, and how to swallow,” Ms Starrett said.

“She wears an AFO boot to keep her foot aligned.”

Danielle Starrett and Sean McInnes with their daughter Lilly Starrett-McInnes. Picture: Tony Martin
Danielle Starrett and Sean McInnes with their daughter Lilly Starrett-McInnes. Picture: Tony Martin

Last year, doctors diagnosed Lilly under the umbrella of cerebral palsy.

“She’s not going to let it beat her,” she said.

“For her it’s just a normal, every day life. She’s loving kindy.”

Ms Starrett wants people to know about childhood strokes.

“Trust your instincts,” she said.

The Federal Government this month announced a $4 million research boost for the Stroke Foundation, for the provision of a world-first study, trialling established time critical adult stroke treatments in babies and children.

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