Stranger Things star makes Oran Park paediatric stroke survivor's day

HAPPY: Avelina Bennett relaxes at home, one year after suffering a pediatric stroke. (Inset) Avelina and sister Zara meet actress Millie Bobby Brown. Picture: Simon Bennett
HAPPY: Avelina Bennett relaxes at home, one year after suffering a pediatric stroke. (Inset) Avelina and sister Zara meet actress Millie Bobby Brown. Picture: Simon Bennett

"She has shown determination, she's our superhero."

That's the view of Oran Park's Lourdes Farias as her daughter continues her road to recovery after suffering a paediatric stroke.

June 28 marks one year since Avelina Bennett, then 11, was struck down by the mysterious illness.

"It was just a normal day and my daughter went to a class at Team Dance Gregory Hills," Ms Farias said.

"Avelina felt okay and went to have a shower, but then collapsed. Her sister found her on the ground."

Avelina was rushed to Campbelltown Hospital and placed in an induced coma, before being transferred to the Sydney Children's Hospital in Randwick.

A neurologist discovered a clot had travelled to Avelina's brain and caused a paediatric stroke.

"Avelina had left hemiplegia, which affects one side of the body and affects its movement and function," Ms Farias said.

"We don't know what caused it and we've tested for everything.

"A paediatric stroke sounds rare, but it is quite common - there is just not a lot of awareness about it."

After waking up from her coma, Avelina spent four months in hospital.

There was one silver lining: she was granted a Starlight Foundation wish to meet Stranger Things actress Millie Bobby Brown.

Avelina and her family had a VIP experience at Supanova Melbourne, where she met her idol.

"Avelina and her sister Zara mingled with Millie and they took selfies together. It was very special," Ms Farias said. "Millie was beautiful and is a great role model for young girls."

Since then, Avelina has worked with medical professionals each week to restore her body's movement.

Ms Farias said her daughter had a long-term goal of dancing again.

"I am really proud of Avelina, she doesn't give up," she said.

Ms Farias thanked her family, the local community, the St Justin's Catholic School and medical professionals Michael Palomares, Natalie and Natasha Perre, Evelyn Walker, Dina Chungue and South West Physiotherapy for their ongoing support.