It was a beautiful, warm evening, and Chase’s cul-de-sac was bursting with neighborhood kids hanging out and playing soccer. Chase’s mother, Wendi, had allowed him to skip karate class that night so he could play with his friends. That decision would gift them a few last moments of normalcy before their lives would change forever.
While talking with some neighbors, Wendi faintly heard some kids yelling in the background. “One of his friends was screaming, ‘Chase, get up!’” Wendi recalls.
“At first, I thought [Chase] was kidding around,” Wendi explains. “But then I saw he was drooling from the right side of his mouth. His eyes were open, but he was completely unresponsive. He couldn’t talk or do anything.”
Chase was rushed by ambulance to the local hospital. Doctors there couldn’t figure out what was wrong, so Chase was transferred to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where he was quickly diagnosed with a pediatric stroke. It was so severe, an MRI showed that the stroke had killed almost a quarter of his brain matter.
Chase’s story of having a pediatric stroke out of nowhere is not unique, but his remarkable recovery is anything but typical. While Chase’s MRI paints the picture of a child who shouldn’t be able to walk, talk, or even sit up, he lives anything but a sedentary life.
Now five years removed from this devastating stroke, Chase’s life has not been easy, but his recovery is a testament to his willpower and an incredible support system. Chase is entering eighth grade and is still very active in karate and other sports. He serves as manager for the Holton’s Heroes official tournament team, Holton’s Army.
Chase’s mother, Wendi, grew up one street over from Holton’s father and aunt Lauren in the suburbs of Philadelphia. This injury occurred 6 months before Holton’s injury—3 months before Holton was even born. It was the first, and unfortunately not the last, time Holton’s family would be exposed to a pediatric brain injury.
We are honored to be able to support Chase and his family after being on the receiving end of their support for years. Thanks to our donors, Holton’s Heroes was able to pay for an expensive, medically necessary leg brace that insurance wouldn’t cover. This leg brace gives Chase the literal support he needs to be able to freely move around and enjoy life like a 12-year-old kid should.
While Chase’s recovery is far from over, he’s already inspired thousands of others over the past few years as he continues to serve as a beacon of hope for children and families who are experiencing a similar trauma right now.