A hospital is not where most mothers hope to spend Mother's Day, but Lori Spears has refused to leave her son's side.
Ashton Spears, 10, has been in a Columbia hospital since May 6, after he had a stroke at the family's Fulton home. His mother has slept and stayed by the Bush Elementary student's hospital bed ever since.
Though she has a young daughter at home and it has kept her away from work, Lori said there was never any question in her mind of where else she was going to spend her Mother's Day.
"I don't want to (go home)," Spears said Monday. "He's stable, he's good, they say he's doing better, so as long as his intracranial pressure in his brain stays down they're going to start taking him down from the sedation (today)."
Early May 6, Ashton Spears woke up screaming with a headache. After his father, Billy, had to carry Ashton to the bathroom and found he couldn't sit up on his own, he was taken to Women's and Children's Hospital in Columbia by ambulance, where it was found he had a hemorrhagic stroke and seizures.
Ashton had fluid removed from his brain and surgery to correct an abnormal connection between arteries and veins in his brain. He has since been under sedation while doctors continue to try and control his intracranial pressure.
While Lori Spears takes time off work to stay at Ashton's bedside, the family is down to a one-income house, and since she had not been with her present employer for more than a year, she said she isn't sure she'll have a job to go back to after her 30-day leave of absence. Billy Spears continues to work and go home to stay with their young daughter.
Though they have no formal fundraiser event scheduled, Lori Spears said the outpouring of support for her and her family was early and strong. A family friend, Suzette Grosz, set up a gofundme page to help with medical costs at http://www.gofundme.com/92jbk4, which has raised a little more than $100 since it opened two days ago.
Spears also noted her children's teachers have called her and several friends and family members have offered to bring in food or help in other ways.
"I really didn't know there was that big of a support system," she said. "Fulton's a smaller town, so I mean, I didn't know there was that many people who were willing to be supportive. It was kind of surprising, but everyone who has offered has been really sweet."
The National Stroke Association's website, www.stroke.org, states pediatric stroke affects about six in 100,000 children, and while children can have permanent stroke-related complications, their recovery is generally better than adults because their brains are still growing.
"The doctors said recovery time is usually six weeks to three months - it really depends on how he's doing, when he wakes up, how he is when he wakes up, and if he's weak from laying in bed for a while," Spears said. "It's really based on him, he's a pretty strong kid so I think he's going to be fine."