11-year-old stroke survivor shares message of hope

Alejandra Palacios
Updated: October 27, 2020 10:37 PM

Thursday is World Stroke Day. To bring awareness on this, an 11-year-old stroke survivor from Proctor is sharing his story and message of hope.

Joseph Synnott suffered a major stroke on Aug. 16. but his optimism and positivity has kept him strong and has impressed doctors on how far he's progressed in the two months since he had the stroke.

At his young age, Synnott has gone through a lot, including six open heart surgeries.

"He was born premature and he had some issues at birth with his heart. They tried repairing them but they weren't able to so they had to replace his mitral valve," said Joe's mom, Amanda Synnott.

This on top of a stroke has been a lot for him and his family but he has kept a positive attitude through it all.

"The resilience this kid has as far as the comments he makes. He'll tell the doctor, I'll ski this winter, don't worry, I just had a stroke, it's not like I died.  And I'm like, oh yeah, okay," Joe's mom, Amanda Synnott, said with a laugh.

"I expect more from myself but I'm definitely really proud of myself," said Joe.

That positive attitude and optimism is what has kept him strong through this battle and has been a big part of his progress.

"When Joe first came to me he came in a wheelchair. He had very little endurance for walking and now he's walking everywhere," said David Jarecki, a St. Luke's therapist that works with Joe.

"I got the walking down but I don't have my hand motion down," said Joe.

Amanda explained what doctors believed caused the stroke.

"The only thing doctors could come up with is that when Joey rests or sleeps, his heart rate drops down into the 40's, which can allow blood to pool by his valve which is mechanical so when it does the mechanism of opening and closing that could have allowed it to pool enough to cause a blood clot that went to his brain," said Amanda.

To help with this, Joe will have to undergo a pacemaker surgery within the next month to regulate his heart rate higher.

"This has just taught us all to be happy and grateful for everything and just brings us all even closer together than we were before," said Amanda.

Joe has beaten the odds and has accomplished a lot two months after his stroke which affected the right side of his body. He see's therapists three times a week that help him advance and keep therapy fun by having him do sport motivated activities like soccer.

"He has a great drive. He has a vision of what he's going to accomplish and what he's going to achieve and he's working toward that and so far he's achieving and he's doing very well," said Jarecki.

Joe hasn't let these setbacks stop him from being a fun and energetic 11-year-old. Joe hopes to get back to doing some of his favorite things soon like fishing, hunting, and playing baseball.

"I feel like with all of that behind him there is nothing that he can't do or beat or overcome. It makes him almost unstoppable to have that faith," said Amanda.

Amanda said Joe's support group of family and friends, and most importantly his faith, has gotten him through this.

When Joe was asked what message of hope he has for people, here's what he had to say, "Never get down on yourself. Know that god will help you and things will get better," said Joe.

Joe looks forward to throwing the first pitch for the Duluth Huskies next year.

Credits

Alejandra Palacios

Copyright 2020 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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