Patient Stories 

At Wolfson Children’s Hospital, our patients inspire us every day. Our Walter and Michelle Stys Neuroscience Institute team offers comprehensive neurological care just for kids and together, we are saving lives. Here are just a few of their stories.

A Stroke at 14: When Time Means Everything
On the day Jordan Mason had a stroke, the Mandarin middle-schooler complained of heartburn and a headache before falling down, slurring his words and becoming weak on one side. A quick-acting teacher called an ambulance, which swiftly transported the teen to the Wolfson Children’s Emergency Center. When tests showed a blood clot was lodged in his brain, he was rushed to a procedure room where a Baptist Health endovascular neurosurgeon removed it. Jordan had been only minutes away from irreversible paralysis and severe disability. Today, he’s dribbling a basketball again. Read his story here… Jordan suffered a stroke at 14 -- it wasn't youth on his side but time thanks to a quick thinking teacher

Georgia brothers diagnosed with rare brain tumor three weeks apart
After a routine eye exam led to the discovery that 10-year-old Aaron Eunice from Adel, Georgia, had a non-cancerous brain tumor called a craniopharyngioma near his pituitary gland, he underwent surgery at Wolfson Children’s to drain an adjacent cyst, then began 30 proton therapy treatments at UF Health Proton Therapy Institute. As the family settled in for six weeks of treatment in Jacksonville, mom Katie noticed that her younger son, Andrew, 9, wasn’t growing and got it checked out. Amazingly, doctors found that he had the same rare brain tumor. Read Aaron and Andrew’s story here… Aaron and Andrew Eunice with their mom -- the boys were treated for rare brain tumors at Wolfson Children's Hospital

Yulee boy has cavernous malformation removed successfully with guidance of new functional MRI technology
When Evan Robbins from Yulee bumped his head and wasn’t able to speak the next day, his mother rushed him to Wolfson Children’s where tests revealed a leaking cavernous malformation in his brain. Located on the left side where speech is usually controlled, neurosurgeons relied on a special neuroimaging test called functional MRI to pinpoint where it was safe to operate without permanently interfering with his ability to talk. Results of the scan showed that his speech center had actually migrated to the other side of his brain, which rewired itself to avoid the abnormality, so his neurosurgery team went in and successfully removed the mass. On the first day of second grade in August 2016, Evan had a cool story to tell his friends, and a neat little scar to prove it. See Evan’s story here… Evan - cool survival story

Jacksonville girl hopes for epilepsy cure with surgery
Seven-year-old Madison Copeland already had the odds stacked against her when she was born with hydrocephalus, a condition that occurs when fluid builds up in the skull and causes the brain to swell. But at age three, she started having seizures and suffered from them for a few years before her parents brought her to the Walter and Michelle Stys Neuroscience Center at Wolfson Children’s Hospital in the summer of 2015. Diagnosed with epilepsy, she underwent a five-hour surgery to affix a grid over her brain guided by EEG results and imaging scans to determine the exact location of her seizures. A few days later, the pediatric neurosurgery team went in with the information they learned, and removed the precise seizure focus from her brain. Today, Madison is nearly seizure-free. Read her story here.... Madison has battled epilepsy since age two

Tallahassee boy survives AVM thanks to collaboration
At nine years old, Caleb already knows more about his brain than most adults. He knows what happens when the intricate connections don't sync up, when the web of blood vessels becomes a knot. On a recent Saturday at the mall with his parents, Caleb complained of a horrible headache. Read how that headache led to the diagnosis of a life-threatening condition no one knew he had, and ultimately saved his life. Read how that headache led to the diagnosis of a life-threatening condition no one knew he had, and ultimately saved his life.... Caleb had his life saved by a headache

Georgia girl battles same brain tumor twice in one year
Hazlehurst, Ga. girl Jaya Wooten was the picture of health until a seizure sent her to the hospital, and a CT scan revealed a mass in the left front lobe of the then five-year-old’s brain. Diagnosed with a grade II oligodendroglioma, Jaya underwent surgery to have it removed, only for it to return three months later. Devastated, Jaya’s family came to the Walter and Michelle Stys Neuroscience Institute for a second option and, ultimately, a second surgery. With image-guided intraoperative MRI (iMRI) surgery, her tumor was removed entirely, leaving little chance of recurrence. Go to Jaya’s story here… Jaya and her favorite Minnie

Jacksonville boy survives two AVMs five years apart, and regains use of his left side after stroke paralyzes him
Sebastian Castro was only five when he suffered a stroke from a ruptured arteriovenous malformation (AVM) in his brain. Neurosurgeons at the Cerebrovascular Center at the Walter and Michelle Stys Neuroscience Institute opened his skull and skillfully removed the blood clot and AVM, but the stroke left him paralyzed on his entire left side. After extensive physical therapy and much progress, another AVM was found on a routine scan five years later, and in February 2015, another surgery was performed to remove it. This time it was caught before it ruptured. Now 10, Sebastian is doing well, and his doctors are pleased how well he is recovering. Read Sebastian’s story here... Sebastian Castro

Arlington fifth grader beats the odds by having – and surviving – a brain aneurysm
Ten-year-old Keshawn Downs had experienced headaches in the past, but none were like the one he experienced a week before Thanksgiving 2014. After a trip to the ER at Wolfson Children’s Hospital resulted in the discovery of a ruptured brain aneurysm in his right interior carotid artery, it took the expertise and skill of his neurosurgeons to open his skull, clamp the bleeding vessel and save Keshawn’s life. Today he is doing so well, he recently was given the go-ahead to rejoin his basketball team, and he is back out on the court. Read the rest of Keshawn’s story. Keshawn experienced headaches and the root cause was traced to a aneurysm

Middleburg teenager back in school less than a month after complex brain surgery
When Jacob Warner had a seizure last August, doctors discovered he had a small brain tumor above his left ear. With the aid of advanced image-guided technology, his neurosurgeon at Wolfson Children’s Hospital was able to remove the entire mass, and did so with minimal damage to surrounding tissue. This precision allowed Jacob to go home in two days, and return to school in less than a month. More about Jacob here.. Jacob came to Wolfson Childrens Hospital after a seizure revealed a brain tumor

Teen from Branford is seizure free after brain mapping for epilepsy helps specialists target and remove focal point
After suffering for five years with visual disturbances, headaches, nausea and exhaustion, Branford teen Stephen Maddox and his parents wanted answers about what was causing his condition. Through a brain mapping procedure at Wolfson Children’s Hospital, neurologists were able to trace the source of Stephen’s seizures so that the exact part of the brain causing them could be removed. Now Stephen is seizure and soon-to-be medication free, most likely for good. Read his story here. Stephen came to Wolfson Childrens Hospital and is now seizure free

Fortune swings in different direction for Georgia girl after fall prompts discovery of brain tumor
When Jesup, Ga. girl Hannah Phillips fell off a swing and hit her head three years ago, her parents were upset that she might have a concussion. But when the resulting CT scan uncovered a lemon-sized brain tumor instead, they turned to the specialists at Wolfson Children’s Hospital who were able to shrink her tumor with chemotherapy, and remove most of it in a complicated surgery. Today, five-year-old Hannah is a normal little Kindergartener with hope for the future, and many more swing rides ahead of her. See her story. Hannah came to Wolfson Childrens Hospital after an accident lead to the discovery of a brain tumor

Heads or tails, Brandon Bell is a winner
Brandon Bell began a battle against a brain tumor in 2010 while his mother was studying brain tumors as a radiography student at Queen Margaret University in Scotland. He had brain surgery in the United Kingdom, but not all of the tumor could be removed safely. Sara had learned about proton therapy, the most precise form of radiation that can often spare healthy brain tissue. The family went on to a fundraising campaign to get acquire the money to get Brandon to the United States. More on Brandon’s story here. Brandon came to the US and Wolfson Childrens Hospital to fight a brain tumor

Tallahassee girl suffering from chronic headaches found to have lemon-sized congenital cyst
When then 11-year-old Tallahassee fifth grader Katie Upton complained of bad headaches after school several times a week, test results showed she had a large cyst putting pressure on her optic nerves threatening to blind her. After the search for a second opinion led her to the Lucy Gooding Children’s Neurology Center at Wolfson Children’s Hospital, Katie’s cyst was drained using a new technique, permanently solving her problem. Katie’s story. Katie came to Wolfson Childrens Hospital for headaches that lead to discovery of a cyst that threatened her sight

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