Girl, nine, who suffered a severe stroke dances back to a ‘remarkable’ recovery

A girl who suffered a severe stroke aged eight has been able to dance again after a “remarkable” recovery.

Issy Dolby was at an after-school dance class last June when she screamed in pain with a headache, fell to the floor and realised she could not walk.

She was taken to St Peter’s hospital, in Chertsey, Surrey, where she was put in an induced coma to protect her brain, then transferred to St George’s hospital, in Tooting.

She was in the paediatric intensive care unit for three days, before moving to a ward for seven weeks. She had no movement down her right side as the stroke occurred in the left side of her brain.

Issy, now nine, began a phased return to school seven months later and started dancing again in January.

Issy with play specialist Genevieve Dodoo, left, and nurse Sarah Ball (Handout from St George’s Hospital)

Her mother Candice, 42, from Walton-on-Thames, wants to raise awareness of childhood stroke and said Issy was “living proof that there is hope after stroke”. “She is doing well but she has still got a way to go,” Mrs Dolby said. “For a stroke survivor to recover so quickly is quite remarkable. We were told to expect a life of being in a wheelchair.

“She was diagnosed with hemiplegia, which means paralysis in half her body, with no use of her right arm at all. Now she is swinging from monkey bars and she ran her first 2,000m junior park run on Sunday.

“She is back at her dance class and has performed in front of people. Her confidence is one thing that has not been taken away. She exudes it. I think most of her recovery is down to her pure determination. She has that inner drive. She wants to be exactly how she was pre-stroke.”

By chance Issy was treated by Genevieve Dodoo and nurse Sarah Ball who cared for her in 2010 when, as a four-week-old baby, she became the world’s youngest child to have keyhole surgery to treat acute appendicitis.

“We left thinking we would never go back again,” Mrs Dolby said. “When we were transferred to St George’s, it was the same room and the same team of nurses who looked after her before.”

The team involved in Issy’s care has been shortlisted in the lifesaver category in the hospital’s annual awards.

Dr Antonia Clarke, consultant paediatric neurologist, said: “Issy has surpassed our expectations given how seriously unwell she was. 

“We didn’t expect her to regain total movement in her right arm but week by week, she’s slowly regaining more strength and it’s truly fantastic to see her doing so well now.”


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