Jasmine Harris had a stroke six months before her high school graduation.
It started with a headache a couple days before Christmas. The family from Raleigh, North Carolina, had spent the day volunteering so her mother, La’Wana Harris, assumed her 17-year-old daughter was just tired.
But the headache didn’t go away after taking a pain reliever. Then, the day after Christmas, she began vomiting in the middle of the night. La’Wana figured it was a stomach virus.
La’Wana was picking up ginger ale and crackers the next morning when she got a frantic call from Jasmine.
“It was just gibberish, and I realized she could be having a stroke,” said La’Wana, who raced home and found Jasmine upstairs “with a look on her face of sheer terror and confusion.”
“I felt completely lost, and I wasn’t sure how I got where I was,” Jasmine said. “I kept trying to tell my mom something wasn’t right, but all that was coming out was mumbled words.”
La’Wana drove Jasmine to a nearby hospital and demanded the triage nurse get them immediate help. The American Heart Association recommends people call 911 immediately if they experience stroke symptoms such as face drooping, arm weakness or speech difficulty.
“Once they took her blood pressure, they called the code and doctors and nurses came running from everywhere,” La’Wana said.
Testing showed Jasmine had a blood clot toward the back of her brain, along with a hemorrhage near her temple. Jasmine was put on life support and transported to Duke Children’s Hospital in Durham.
Jasmine lost consciousness soon after arriving at the hospital and was put under sedation. She woke up three days later.