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'He's a fighter': 5 yr old from Carrington now home, after suffering a rare stroke

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FARGO N.D. —An inspiring boy from Carrington is back on his feet tonight after a miraculous recovery from a rare stroke.

5-year old Cruz is known for his endless energy and his ability to constantly keep his parents on their toes.

"He's always kind of been the child where we're like, 'Slow down! Come back! No! Don't do that!'" said Callie Crause, Cruz's mom.

But last Wednesday Cruz was different, he was dizzy and sleepy.

His mom took him to the Carrington Health Center where they performed a CAT Scan, and before they knew it Cruz was being airlifted to Sanford Medical Center in Fargo.

"In just a few minutes of getting here we had an MRI picture and an MRI Angiogram picture that showed tiny little strokes in the balance center in his brain and in his brain stem, and a blocked artery in the basilar artery," said Dr. Mike Manchak, stroke neurologist.

Cruz was suffering from a basilar stroke, something extremely rare in children.

90 percent of people who have this type of stroke die from it.

A team of 20 people rushed Cruz into surgery, a surgery that would only take 12 minutes, without any complications, a major success.

"To my best knowledge this is the first time this technique, particular technique that we used here at Sanford was used in a child, in the world," said Dr. Alexander Drofa, Cerebrovascular Neurosurgeon.

Here's a before and after picture (pictured above) of Cruz's basilar artery in his brain.

The 'after' photo on the right shows the blood now flowing freely after the clot was removed.

"When you're faced a situation where it's life or death you just have to do it. And you have to use the devices that are designed for adults to use them in kids. So that's what we've done and it went really really well," said Dr. Drofa.

And now not even a full week after his surgery, Cruz is ready to go home.

"Coming thinking that you probably will lose your child to going, 'Wow - we're going home with him.' And we do have a little more of a journey to go, but Cruz will do it. He's a fighter," said Cruz's parents.

Cruz will soon be undergoing heart surgery to prevent future clots.

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