State: San Diego, CA
Facility: Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego
Rodneisha is an 18-year-old girl who was enjoying her senior year of high school, very active in the athletic programs, notably volleyball and softball. She had just been notified that she had received a scholarship to attend Arizona State University because of her volleyball prowess. One evening, she had a major stroke while warming up for softball practice and was immediately transported to the hospital. It was determined that a previously unknown heart condition called patent foramen ovale, had allowed a large blood clot to travel up to her brain and block a major blood vessel. Although the clot was successfully removed, Rodneisha has significant consequences of her stroke. She was unable to move, eat, talk or breathe on her own, and required placement of a tracheostomy tube and feeding tube. Rodneisha was then transferred from the hospital to a skilled nursing facility. As her condition improved, she went to two hospitals for heart surgery and the removal of the tracheostomy tube.
She was admitted to Rady for intensive inpatient rehabilitation and continues to use an electronic communication device and a wheelchair. She is finally eating by mouth and even attended her high school graduation ceremony. Her therapists who work with her on a daily basis believe that Rodneisha is a true hero because of her positive attitude, self-motivation, and consistent hard work.