Pearl River girl who had stroke to participate in this weekend's Penguin Plunge fundraiser
An 8-year-old Pearl River girl who is undergoing physical therapy after a stroke will participate in a fundraiser to benefit other children like her.
The Nyack community will come together this weekend for the Penguin Plunge fundraiser.
Every step Mae Cunningham takes brings her closer to recovery.
Months ago, Mae Cunningham was a healthy girl. Her mother, Keri Cunningham, says that changed suddenly during a soccer game.
"She was playing great, we were yelling out to her, 'Are you OK? What's wrong?' And she couldn't really communicate," she recalls.
Mae was rushed to the hospital and diagnosed with a stroke.
"You just don't know, you just go blank. Everything stops. Your whole world just ends," Keri Cunningham says.
Mae was unable to use her right side and left with speech difficulties.
She was brought to Blythedale Children's Hospital for rehabilitation.
The hospital's Dr. Divya Lakhaney says Mae has achieved a great deal in just four months.
"She's made tremendous, tremendous progress already, she's had such a great outcome so far and she continues to make progress," she says.
Doctors still do not know what caused the stroke but say it is not as rare as one would think.
Now, as Mae continues to step toward recovery she will also take another step - a very icy one.
She will participate in the Penguin Plunge. The event will raise funds for her and three other local children.
"We are so fortunate to have people behind us and to be able to apply that to her long-term recovery. Something like this is going to take a long time," says Mae's father, Brendan Cunningham.
The Penguin Plunge will take place this Sunday in Nyack's Memorial Park from noon to 2 p.m.