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"Don't give up," 13-year-old stroke survivor Marina Ganetsky writes book to help kids feel less alone

Needham teen recovering from stroke helps others feel less alone
Needham teen recovering from stroke helps others feel less alone 02:46

NEEDHAM - With each step she takes, for each book she reads, 13-year-old Marina Ganetsky is making strides and proving her doubters wrong.

"I am still strong," Marina said. She's being modest. She's actually a living miracle. When she was 10 years old, she suffered a massive stroke went into a coma for several weeks.

"We get a phone call no parent wants to get. She collapsed on the playground at school, taken to hospital. Turned out she had an AVM, which is a normal tangle of blood vessels in the brain, and it ruptured," her mother Sasha Yampolsky said.

When she came out, she lost all her motor skills. Unable to speak, walk, talk, sit, or even swallow.

"Doctors, or some therapist or educators, they're like, 'I don't know if you'll be able to walk. Time will tell,'" her mother said.

But after three years of intense rehab Marina is making huge progress. "I work six hours a day. Doing PT, OT, speech, swimming, horseback riding," Marina said.

Marina Ganetsky
13-year-old Marina Ganetsky CBS Boston

To help shed light on her recovery and to inspire others, Marina and her mother wrote a book together, getting testimony from other stroke survivors. Marina came up with the title called, "Or So They Thought!"

"The hardest thing for stroke survivors kids and adults is loss of friends. And every single contributor to this book 100% of the book all said the same thing," her mother said.

She is now in the seventh grade at Needham Pollard Middle School. Her teacher says she is excelling in reading, math and art. "I don't think you know what an impact you have on people. You touch my heart so deeply because of how amazing you are. And I wish other kids will see how hard she works," Emily Dudek said.

Marina hopes to one day ski again and help other kids who are going through a similar struggle. 

"I want to help kids feel less alone," Marina said. "Don't give up."

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