ENCINO (CBSLA.com) — An 11-year-old girl from Hermosa Beach is slowly recovering after suffering from two massive strokes last year.
On Christmas Eve, Amy Mantell showed signs something was wrong with her as she played with her younger brother, Ethan, in the park.
"I was watching her and she just like, fell on the ground. She just sat down. At first I thought, 'You guys are playing too rough. Did you hit your head?' She said, 'No, I can't see,'" said Leilani O'Dell, Amy's mother.
The single mom said she took Amy to the ER, but was sent home.
O'Dell said she struggled to get Amy seen by specialists.
"If I hadn't been fighting for her, who knows what might have happened," said O'Dell.
One week after the park incident, Amy was admitted to the hospital, where she fell into a coma.
O'Dell was devastated to see her once vibrant, straight-A sixth-grader in her hospital bed after an MRI revealed bleeding in her brain.
"She was flailing. She had no control over her body. She could barely speak," she said. "Our life completely changed from that point onward."
Amy, now out of a coma, spends up to five hours a day, five days a week in physical therapy at the Centre For Neuro Skills in Encino.
O'Dell said she's spent thousands of dollars on medical bills out of pocket for what insurance won't cover. She can't work because it's a full-time job to care for Amy.
Doctors said Amy will likely return to what she was like before the stroke, but it's unknown if she will surpass that.
"One thing I did ask was, 'Are you trying to tell me that I'm going to have an 11-year-old in a 30-year-old body?'" said O'Dell
O'Dell said that reality is not lost on Amy.
"She'll say things like, 'Mom, I just want to be normal' and 'Mom, I want my old life back,'" she said.
For more information on pediatric strokes, visit Stroke.org.
To donate money to cover the costs of Amy's recovery, visit Fundly.com.
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