The first few days of Cameron Cousins' life was not what her parents expected. Cameron's mother Jamie says her pregnancy was great and that the delivery was fine but 24 hours after giving birth, Cameron had a stroke.
Jamie says, "We really don't know exactly what happened."
Cameron was born a few weeks early and her stroke happened at just a day old as she was being treated for an underdeveloped lung.
"It's hard to even describe how we felt when they told us what happened," Jamie says.
Doctors told Jamie there was no way to have prevented the stroke.
Cameron was in the NICU for three weeks and she was in a coma for the first 10 days. At four months, Cameron started physical and occupational therapy. The stroke had left her with a weakness on right side of her body. Normal milestones, like crawling, were difficult.
Cameron is now eight and loves to play outside, read and dance. She still has therapy sessions and has made a lot of improvements in her strength.
But Jamie says Cameron is now dealing with another issue. Cameron has been diagnosed with epilepsy and cerebral palsy and her seizures are only getting worse.
"She (Cameron) started sleeping with my husband and I again about three years ago because we're so afraid that she's going to have a seizure," Jamie says.
Jamie wants her daughter to regain her independence and that's why they have applied for a service dog. "(Cameron) has a weakness on the right side. She drags her foot so she tends to fall a little bit more or lose her balance. Her dog will also help with that."
The dogs go through a two year training course and are taught to alert parents at the signs of a seizure. It will cost the family around $15,000. So they have set out to raise as much money as they can through online fundraising sites and garage sales. Cameron can't wait to get a service dog.
Cameron says, "I'm excited because I can sleep in my own room without having my mom or dad in there with me."
Pediatric strokes affect babies, toddlers and children. Perinatal strokes, like the one Cameron had, happen in about one of 3,000 births.
Jaime wants others who are in her shoes to know they are not alone. "Don't let yourself get down, just keep going and keep striving. It gets better. You make progress every day and there is a lot of people who are willing to help."
If you would like to help Cameron reach her goal for her service dog, you can go click here.