Without Warning: Local teen survives rare brain defect
We all suffer from headaches for various reasons. However, for one local teen, it was a life-threatening situation. Talia Hay, suffered brain defect: "I was standing in front of the lunchroom with a group and all of a sudden it just (sound effect...
We all suffer from headaches for various reasons. However, for one local teen, it was a life-threatening situation.
Talia Hay, suffered brain defect: “I was standing in front of the lunchroom with a group and all of a sudden it just (sound effect). My head started to hurt really bad and I don't normally have headaches so this was really odd. “
Last September, a phone call from Central High School changed a local family's life.
TSgt. Alfonso Hay, Talia's father: “They're like, Talia is… she's really screaming and she's acting out of the ordinary, she says she came in with a headache, but she's acting really ridiculous.”
Without warning, 14-year-old Talia Hay learns her headache is quickly turning into a life-threatening call for help.
TSgt Hay: “On my way there, like halfway there, they're saying she's getting worse we're going to have to call the emergency responders to come get her.”
At Altru, doctors tried to figure out what went wrong.
TSgt Hay: “When he took her to the back to do a CT scan, he came back in and he was like, ‘she has blood on her brain.’”
An unexpected diagnosis for this young, seasoned athlete.
Michelle Hay, Talia's mother: “She's had normal physical. She's played basketball since she was in third grade. She's an active girl, she's played soccer, I mean all these things and we get physicals every year for sports and school.”
From Altru, Talia was flown to Sanford Children's Hospital in Fargo where doctors performed two surgeries - one to stop the bleeding and the other, an angiogram.
Doctors believe Talia was born with AVM disease, which is a malformation of blood vessels in the brain.
Talia's parents: “She had one on her…left side and it's when all the vessels are jumbled up, they're not straight, they're just jumbled up in her head right here and there's nothing really you can do to pre-find out.”
What they did find out: that family and friends supported them through this rough journey, and the Air Force community donated leave time.
Michelle: “She doesn't have enough leave, if you feel like you can donate some of your leave, donate it this way and they give you opportunities for us as a small base, what happens is they start off on base level and then they go to AMC level, which is Air Mobility Command and then from there if you don't get enough they go to air force wide, where I had a month and a half of leave just from Grand Forks Air Force Base.
Talia was in the hospital for 11 days when staff said she would be there for about two weeks, after going through physical, occupational, and speech therapy.
Today, her parents say Talia is a typical 14-year-old.
Talia's parents: “Her and her sister are a lot more closer, I would say. I mean they always bicker before, but now they bicker, but it's kind of... it's just different, you know. It is different. Our whole life is just different.”
Talia: “I feel like a normal teenager should, like I don't know, when a normal teenager is angry or something, I don't know, is that what normally teenagers act that way, they're all like ‘ah mom gosh, dad leave me alone.’ Yeah, I'm a normal teenager I guess just had a bad experience.”
That "bad experience" led hospital staff to nominate her to be the Children's Miracle Network Champion of North Dakota.
Talia: “I was like surprised and then I found out I had to talk on the radio and get interviews and take pictures I was like oh I'm not used to all this attention.”
The Hay family is using their voice to help others nationwide, going to events to raise money for children's hospitals.
Michelle: “We get to help be a part of a cause that helps other children in need.”
Talia sharing her own message of strength and gratitude to help others.
Talia: “Keep being strong, yeah like, no matter how many shots or pills or all that stuff you have to take, just keep waking up thanking the nurses and your family for supporting you and just being happy that you get to see another day.”