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Saturday 23 March 2019
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TRENTON PATRICK Against All Odds… Not This Kid

story by Kelly Harley photos by Shelia Scott
Children have a way of teaching us some of the most important lessons in life. Their innocence, resilience, and
perseverance can easily rub off on you. One Effingham County boy is proving that those qualities can go a long
way, especially when faced with an obstacle that could have taken his life.
Ten-year-old Trenton Patrick is one of the cutest kids you will ever meet. With sandy blonde hair and bright
blue eyes, his smile can melt your heart. Better yet, his attitude will leave you in awe. Trenton isn’t like many
kids his age. He struggles to talk and use his right hand and right leg. Despite these challenges, you won’t hear
him ever say, “Why me?”
On June 27, 2018, it was a normal day at the Patrick home. Mom, Mary Ann, was busy cleaning the house for
an upcoming party and her two younger boys, Trenton and 8-year-old Bradley, were having fun playing on the
PlayStation. Mary Ann was in the bathroom when Trenton and Bradley came in. Trenton, who was nine at the
time, told his mom his head was hurting. Mary Ann recalls telling him to quit whining and to talk right because
she couldn’t understand him. “I told him this is important, if there is something wrong, tell me right now,”
recalls Mary Ann. She quickly realized he wasn’t whining and his speech was slurred. She asked him to lift his
right arm above his head and he couldn’t. She asked him to smile and noticed the right side of his mouth
wouldn’t go up. Within 90 seconds he lost all function on his right side and he started vomiting. She was sure
he was having a stroke.
Within a short amount of time, Trenton was on his way to Memorial Health in Savannah. Once there, a CT
scan revealed a brain bleed. Trenton had suffered from a ruptured brain aneurysm, which ultimately caused
him to have an intracranial hemorrhagic stroke. The aneurysm was caused by an arteriovenous malformation, a
condition he was born with and one his parents didn’t know he had until this happened. “Dr. Willard
Thompson, who is the only pediatric neurosurgeon in Savannah, told my husband and I that we needed to be
prepared. He told us Trenton is very sick and he’s going to get worse. He will likely be in a coma and possibly be
on life support,” says Mary Ann.
Faced with the worst nightmare a parent can imagine, the Patricks broke down. After absorbing the news,
Mary Ann said they changed their attitudes. “We said this is not how we are going to handle it. We started
praying and vowed that we would not accept this news and we would not fall apart. That is not what God
teaches us,” adds Mary Ann.
The next morning Trenton underwent an angiogram and doctors essentially glued his brain where the
aneurysm happened.
The next 36 hours were most critical and the Patricks had hoped the brain would start absorbing some of the
blood. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case and a week later, Trenton underwent one of two brain surgeries. The
first surgery was to remove the blood and fluid off the brain. Part of his skull was removed and he had a drain
tube on his brain. He was sedated for 28 days and the doctors said they had done everything they could do. The
waiting began.
Mary Ann smiles when she says that after Trenton woke up, everything went best case scenario. “When he
woke up, he couldn’t talk, couldn’t move his right side, but he remembered us and was comprehending. I knew
that my child was there and he wasn’t a vegetable,” says Mary Ann. Trenton spent 43 days at Memorial Health,
with most of that time in the intensive care unit. He continued to improve and he amazed the doctors and staff.
The outcome of his prognosis was better than anyone had expected.
Trenton’s next journey took him to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta where he went through intensive
therapy. He learned how to eat, talk and walk. He attended physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech
therapy. Mary Ann was thinking it was hard on Trenton, but Trenton sees it differently. “It was hard but my
attitude changed how hard or easy it was. I kept a positive attitude,” smiles Trenton.
Trenton spent four months in Atlanta undergoing therapy. He just recently completed robotics therapy,
which is a type of therapy that delivers high-dosage and high-intensity training, making it useful for patients
with motor disorders caused by stroke or spinal cord disease. Mary Ann says the therapy did wonders for
Trenton’s progress.
While Trenton was in Atlanta, he continued to amaze those who took care of him. They called him their
easiest patient. “They kept me busy and I kept them busy,” says Trenton. Each week the therapists would write
goals for Trenton to accomplish that week. Well, he was so determined, he would meet his goals halfway
through the week and therapists would have to write new goals.
On January 22, Trenton started school again. The 4th grader at Marlow Elementary says his first day back
was fun. “I learned about decimals, planets and opinion writing. You know, math is my favorite subject,” says
Trenton.
What’s even more remarkable is he is back in his regular class (while in therapy he also worked on his
schoolwork), has made straight A’s and has made the honor roll for both nine-week periods. He will continue
therapy in school; speech, physical and occupational therapy in Savannah three days a week; and will go back to
Atlanta over the summer for more robotics therapy. Mary Ann says their new normal is different. While it may
be different, it hasn’t changed Trenton’s outlook on life. “It doesn’t bother me. I’m not sure how to explain it,
but I feel like the new normal is easier than the old normal,” adds Trenton.
While some may question the strength this family has had over the past seven months, Mary Ann says it’s
their faith in God and the outpouring of support from friends and family who have made this difficult journey
not so difficult. When they learned how much the cost of therapy was going to be, upwards of $15,000, a
GoFundMe account was set up. Generous donations came flooding in and they far exceeded their goal. While in
therapy, Trenton was able to come home over the Labor Day weekend and the family attended church that
Sunday. Trenton received a standing ovation and the pastor changed his planned sermon that day. Instead, he
spoke about how sometimes people are given things they don’t necessarily deserve, but given a struggle, God
will help see you through.
Trenton’s school and classmates have also welcomed him back with open arms. Mary Ann says Trenton’s
teachers are amazing and continue to help him as he transitions back into his new normal.
Trenton says he has learned a lot about himself. “I’ve learned how to have patience and I’ve even taught my
mom to be more patient. I know that everything will take a little longer and I may be slower, but I’m grateful
because I’ve met kids in therapy who don’t have it as easy as me,” he says. Mary Ann says this has also made
him sweeter. Trenton laughs at that comment and says he’s always been sweet.
Sweet, determined, loving, inspiring – Trenton displays all of these qualities at such a young age. “From the
beginning, I’ve tried to make sure he understands that he is doing very well. He’s going to have an amazing
story that is going to benefit other people. He needs to realize that we are part of something bigger and that our
lives are part of growing the Kingdom of God,” adds Mary Ann.
Without a doubt, Trenton’s story is nothing short of amazing. When you consider what he’s been through, it
leaves you with a greater appreciation of just how good life is. Trenton shares advice for those who may be
struggling, “Just have a good attitude and you will get through it.” Sound advice from a special little boy.