LAKEVILLE, Minn. (FOX 9) - Brayden Halbert stares down a basketball hoop with the focus of Karl Anthony Towns. Never mind that Brayden has to look up at the hoop—way up. He’s just twelve years old.
Every dribble, every jumpshot, and every basket is made with the kind of determination you find in every competitive middle school athlete. But Brayden does it all with one good arm, and one good leg.
"So, there was something wrong with my brain that was on my right side that affected my left," said Brayden pointing to his left arm and leg. "It’s kind of weak over here."
Brayden had a stroke. Nearly every stroke survivor can divide their lives in terms of before their stroke, and after. Brayden has never experienced life before his stroke, because doctors believe it happened when he was born.
"The reason we found out that he had a stroke is that he had a fever at birth," said his father Jake Halbert. "So, he went into the neonatal intensive care unit for the first 48 hours and unfortunately had twelve seizures that first night in the hospital. They did a scan and found out that he did suffer a stroke at birth."
While stroke at childbirth is rare, the Minnesota Stroke Association says stroke can happen at any age.
"Absolutely, stroke is non-discriminatory," said Brad Donaldson of the Stroke Association. "It will happen whenever it chooses and to whoever it chooses."
A recent study in the journal Neurology shows that stroke risk increases with age, especially in patients over 35 years old. According to researchers the incidence of stroke has also increased as much as 23% in the data they explored from the early 2000s.
It’s why Brayden and his family are walking this Saturday morning, May 15th in the Strides for Strokes fundraiser. The event supports the Minnesota Stroke Association in its mission to provide services to stroke survivors. FOX 9 is serving as a media sponsor.
"We’ll help them get connected to the best in the business to help them along their journey," said Donaldson. "All the money raised at this event will support that, so we’re there for the next individual or the next family member who needs support."
Because of COVID restrictions, the Strides for Stroke is a virtual event again this year. Participants are asked to register at strokemn.org raise money and walk on Saturday morning.
"Share a photo of your group walking, and share a video. We’ll post these online," said Donaldson.
The Minnesota Stroke Association is asking participants to share their pictures on social media with the #StridesForStroke hashtag.
Brayden Halbert has formed his own team called Brayden’s Warriors.
"Walk around your neighborhood," said his father. "Walk around socially distanced with friends and family and just support this great cause for stroke survivors in the State of Minnesota."