Like many kids her age, Claire, a vivacious 13-year-old from St. Clair Shores, Michigan, loved to be active. However, she was diagnosed with arteriovenous malformation (AVM) of the cervical spine at Detroit Medical Center (DMC) Children’s Hospital of Michigan, which is a rare, abnormal tangle of blood vessels in or near the spinal cord. The condition can lead to numerous conditions, including hemorrhaging, weakness, problems with balance and coordination.
After undergoing two emergency surgeries to remove the AVM, Claire was paralyzed. Claire’s parents, Amy and Glen, are optimistic that their daughter will continue to progress in her recovery. The family is working with therapists at the hospital to continue to help Claire regain her mobility, including using electrical stimulation to strengthen her left arm.
“We were so thankful at the exceptional care of the doctors and nursing staff and knew there were potential complications after this surgery,” said Amy.
Regardless of the life-changing event for Claire and her family, Amy says there have been many amazing moments in their journey.
Claire missed many holidays at home, but her stay was brightened when she was thrown a birthday party at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan. The party was made possible thanks to a grant from Relentless Detroit, a foundation created to raise money and support families with children diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses. She was also the recipient of a Young Hero’s Award and presented a medal of honor by military members. The family is extremely grateful for the excellent and compassionate care received from the doctors, nursing staff and rehabilitation staff, as well as family and friends who made such a positive impact during Claire’s recovery.
Claire and Amy also have future plans to make a difference in the lives of others with AVM.
“Claire and I plan to write two books on AVM from a parent’s perspective and a child’s perspective,” said Amy. “We have learned a lot from this, and we hope to help and inspire others who may be dealing with a similar situation.”