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Never give up: Sammy (11) with Down syndrome and his mother are struggling after a stroke


Sammy is eleven years old and has Down Syndrome. He lives with his mother in Kochel am See. A stroke by Sabrina H. in January 2021 makes life difficult for both of them.

Sammy is eleven years old and has Down Syndrome.

He lives with his mother in Kochel am See.

A stroke by Sabrina H. in January 2021 makes life difficult for both of them.

Kochel am See

– In the life of Sabrina H. there were some setbacks.

Her husband left her after more than 20 years of marriage when it was clear during her fourth pregnancy that the child would be born with Down syndrome.

A stroke two years ago destroyed the new life that had been painstakingly built up.

Many things were not easy for the 52-year-old.

Despite all the difficulties, she has never regretted the decision to give birth to her son.

A visit to the family for today's World Down Syndrome Day.

Sammy is almost eleven years old today, as he proudly explains.

It's his birthday in two weeks.

A few months ago he moved back to the Loisach Valley with his mum.

In the old life before Sammy's birth, the family used to live in Benediktbeuern, now Sabrina H. has found an apartment in Kochel with her youngest son - the other three children are grown.

The ten-year-old is in fourth grade at primary school there.

Sammy loves going to school

That didn't go very smoothly.

There are definitely reservations about teaching handicapped children in a regular school.

Sammy was also initially suggested to attend a remedial class.

"First it was said that he should go to the external class in Bad Heilbrunn, but then suddenly it was about Reichersbeuern," says Sabrina H.. But she didn't want to put her son through the long journey - also because she wanted to be close to Sammy herself .

"He has a swallowing disorder.

He can only eat soft things, otherwise he could choke.” All of a sudden, situations can arise in which the ten-year-old gasps for air.

Also this afternoon: He's just playing, then he coughs, something's wrong.

Mama Sabrina calms her son down and does breathing exercises with him.

Everything will be fine soon.

Sammy has been attending classes in Kochel since November.

He was actually supposed to start there in September.

But shortly before the start of the school year, the school support dropped out.

But now everything fits.

"The school companion is a dream, and his teacher also got involved with him." When asked if he likes going to school, the ten-year-old nods immediately.

He is also taking part in the preparation for First Communion this year.

"He's always very good in church," says his mom.

Everyday life at home works to some extent now.

However, the road to get there was a long one.

After her husband first wanted to urge her to have an abortion and then left her when she decided to keep the child, the rented house in Benediktbeuern could no longer be held by her alone.

Very pregnant, Sabrina H.

with the three sons to Augsburg.

She had relatives there, and there were also doctors and clinics nearby, which Sammy needed for a long time because of his congenital heart defect.

Major problems after a stroke

She lived in Augsburg for ten years, the eldest sons eventually moved out and started their own families.

Sabrina H., Sammy and his brother, who was eight years older, lived together.

Corona hit her hard.

Sammy, a risk patient due to his health problems, was no longer able to go to school.

"His brother also stayed at home because he didn't want to infect Sammy," says the mother.

"We were totally isolated." Then came January 3, 2021. Sabrina H. remembers that she wanted to sleep on the couch in the living room, that her older son turned on something else on the television and that Sammy snuggled up next to her.

"Then I woke up again a week later in the hospital." Sammy tells us what happened that night.

At some point he woke up.

"And I knocked mama.

But she didn't wake up." He screamed,

but it was quite a while before his brother heard him.

He immediately dialed 911.

The diagnosis: stroke.

When the 52-year-old regained consciousness in the clinic, she could not speak or swallow and was paralyzed on one side.

The fact that she was released from the hospital after another week may have been due to a misunderstanding.

"Because of Corona, there were no personal conversations, only phone calls." And somehow the doctor assumed that one of the adult sons lived with her and was a nurse.

"He's not.

And he had to go back to his job.

He had only lived with us during my time in the hospital.” I know how Sammy and his 16-year-old brother, who – traumatized by the events – completely withdrew, “got through the first three weeks when I was home not,” she says today.

speak, think clearly,

dial a phone number – none of that was possible.

At some point she managed - still quite confused - to ask for help in a parent Facebook group.

“When it became clear that something was wrong with me, someone called a friend of mine.

She drove us to my parents'.

Sammy can't push the emergency button

Her mother, with whom the relationship was rather mixed, then took care of a lot until outpatient rehabilitation finally began.

"That was really great from my mother." But it only really got better weeks later, during a family-supported rehab with Sammy and his brother in Tannheim in the Black Forest.

“They already knew us and they took such good care of us.

After these four weeks things have improved.”

In July 2022, Sabrina H. finally moved to Kochel with Sammy to be closer to her family.

But there was a big problem.

“We had applied for overnight assistance.

It was rejected.” In fact, she needs someone who is in the apartment at night.

"We don't need anyone to do anything.

That would probably be easier.

If Sammy had to be sucked out, for example, we would definitely get help.” But the two simply need someone who is there in an emergency, because there is a real risk that the 52-year-old will suffer a second stroke.

The responsible authorities had told her that she had an emergency call button for that.

The problem: "Sammy can't press it." Sabrina H. knows this very well because she tried to prepare the ten-year-old for an emergency.

"I pretended I was having a seizure.

Sammy hid behind the closet and stayed there for the time being.” Maybe the button will work in a year or two.

"Right now he just can't."

The money for the help is actually missing

Because all the places she asked for help canceled "and at some point I didn't have the strength anymore", she took care of a solution herself.

First she had a guest student in her apartment, for a few weeks now an au pair girl from Kyrgyzstan has been living with her.

It works well, but Sabrina H. can't actually afford the monthly costs.

The trained nanny, who worked as a childminder for a long time, lives on community income.

That and the care allowance for yourself (care level 2) and Sammy (care level 4) are just enough to make ends meet – “especially since everything has become so expensive”.

In order to be able to pay for the help, she borrowed money from her mother and a friend.

"But I have to and want to pay that back." She can now do that too, because "Leser helfen helfen", the fundraising campaign of the local newspaper,

helps with financing for the next few months.

"It's an incredible relief for me," says Sabrina H.. And so she and Sammy may finally have a little peace to really settle into their new life in Kochel.


If you want to help the family, donate to the “Leser helfen helfen” account using the keyword “Sammy”.

You can find even more current news from the region around at Tölz.

Source: merkur

All news articles on 2023-03-21

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