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Family thankful for 9-year-old's survival

November 26, 2009 6:13:44 PM PST
A Chicago family is counting their blessings this Thanksgiving for a little girl who has survived many health problems this year. Grace Bracken, 9, suffered a stroke caused by an aneurysm and also had surgery to remove a brain tumor. But she's now regaining her strength and mobility.

One of Grace Bracken's favorite things to do is to play the video game Wii with her younger brother. Boxing is the 9-year-old's specialty. Grace received the game from her friends as a gift for achieving the impossible.

"To me, it's a miracle that she's still here and she's doing so well," her mother Susan Bracken said.

Grace has come a long way since January 17, a night that Susan Bracken says plays in her head over and over.

"I was gathering my things to go off to bed and heard a moan from where they were sleeping. I went to see if one of the children was having a bad dream," Susan said.

It was the beginning of a bad dream for the whole family. Grace was suffering from a seizure, and her parents called 911. Instead of taking Grace to the nearest hospital, the paramedics made the quick decision to rush her to Children's Memorial, a move that would save her life.

"It was just so surreal. An hour ago, we were at home, and now a dozen people are working on my daughter trying to figure out what is wrong with her," Susan said.

Grace had a stroke caused by a brain aneurysm. She lost all movement on the left side of her body.

Months after the hemorrhage had cleared, doctors then discovered a brain tumor. It was removed and fortunately benign.

Today, Grace has almost regained all movement, something her parents say would not have happened if it wasn't for Grace's own determination.

"If you want to get better, it's not like you got to have the doctors do everything. You got to put your all into it, too," Grace said.

"She is definitely a fighter. Her motto is, 'I'm in it to win it,'" Susan said.

The Bracken family is beyond thankful on this Thanksgiving.

"When you have to dig down deep to be strong as a family, and for everything to come out the way it has, that's a true, true blessing and thanksgiving," said Grace's father Sean Bracken.


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