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13-year-old awake and talking after surviving a stroke

A boy from Sumter suffered a stroke during a typical day at school. Now, his family wants others to learn from this situation.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — On Friday afternoon, a 13-year-old Furman Middle School student sat in his hospital bed asking for chicken nuggets and Gatorade - just 11 days after a stroke.

On Feb. 6, Daniel went to school like any normal day. He said he wasn't feeling well, and went to the front office of Furman Middle School to call his mom. At this point, his speech was slurred and he couldn't talk on the phone. 

The staff in the front office asked his mother, Jennifer Lynch, to come to pick him up. Jennifer said that when she arrived she had to help her son to the car because he was weak and limp on his right side.

She took him home and let him sleep before sending him to Prisma Health Tuomey Hospital in Sumter. Since then, Lynch says the past week has been unnerving for her family.

"We didn't expect a 13-year-old to ever go through this," she said.

Doctors said he suffered a five-centimeter aneurysm which caused him to have what is called a hemorrhagic stroke, something most adults do not survive.

Daniel's grandparents Rhonda and Charles Ahtonen said they want this situation to be a learning experience for others.

"We hope that some other parent or grandparent won't have to go through what we went through," Charles said. "That's all we're trying to do is help that next kid that comes into the office and is having difficulty so they know exactly what they need to do."

We reached out to the Sumter School District to see if employees are trained to deal with these situations.

They sent back this statement that said: 

"MERT teams are available at our schools to assist with medical emergencies that are common in children. Since this was so unique, additional training will take place next week to help ensure school staff is able to identify signs and symptoms of a stroke."

Daniel is slowly improving, cracking jokes and asking for donuts - even after a lengthy surgery to put a filter on his artery to prevent the blood clot from moving any further.

His right arm is not moving but he can move his right leg now, and his family is hoping that, with more physical therapy, he'll have regular use of these limbs again.

Once he is ready, Daniel's family said he will be transferred to a rehab center in Charlotte.


It's important to recognize the signs of a stroke. Fortunately, there is a common mnemonic device to help remember some of the most common symptoms: FAST

F: Facial Drooping

A: Arm Weakness

S: Speech Difficulty

T:  Time to call 911

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