In 2020, William Kyler Lewis, 15, was riding in the car with his mom in College Station, Texas, when he suddenly turned to her confused.
His head hurt, he was sick to his stomach and his vision was blurred. Soon, he couldn’t remember anything for more than a few seconds.
After his mom rushed him to the pediatrician, he got a shot and was told to go home. Instead, his mom drove 1½ hours to a children’s hospital in Houston. Nurses there thought Kyler had taken drugs, but his mom insisted no, he was not that type of kid, and something was very wrong. A CT scan revealed Kyler had an acute spontaneous intracranial hemorrhage from a brain arteriovenous malformation (AVM) that he unknowingly had when he was born. A brain AVM is a condition that is not inherited. AVMs are a random occurrence due to a gene malfunction in utero where a mass of arteries connect directly to veins.
Kyler received lifesaving external ventricular drain (EVD) surgery to control the fluid build-up in his brain. After the stroke, memory and neuro fatigue became a big problem. Kyler has undergone radiation and chemotherapy and takes medication for epilepsy, headaches, dizziness, weakness and tremors.
Yet, Kyler is inspiring many. He uses local news, community functions and social media to educate the public that a child can have a stroke, too. He also organizes walks to highlight the importance of recognizing the symptoms of a pediatric stroke.
Kyler’s Facebook group, “A Cure for Kyler,” his CaringBridge page and YouTube channel educate and inspire pediatric stroke survivors by documenting his recovery.
His video, “Being You after an Aneurysm/AVM Rupture,” and his family’s Facebook page, “AVM Alliance: A Cure for Kyler and Friends,” share stories of other hemorrhagic stroke survivors and educate people about symptoms and conditions.