LUBBOCK, Texas — On May 5, the life of a then 10-year-old Lubbock girl completely changed following a painful headache. As many parents would, Evelyn “Evie” Williams’ mother got her some medicine and treated it as a typical headache, until things took a turn for the worst.
“She was screaming and so we were getting ready to go to the doctor or hospital,” said Irene Williams, Evie’s mother. I was trying to figure out what to do, and she kind of fell over in her room and became paralyzed.”
Evie was unconscious. Irene called the ambulance and Evie was rushed to Covenant Children’s Hospital. They intubated her and did a computed tomography (CT) scan.
“It was a hematoma, and then later, they found out she had an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) from birth,” Irene said.
According to the Mayo Clinic, AVM is an abnormal tangle of blood vessels conecting arteries and veins, which disrupts normal blood flow and oxygen circulation.
She immediately went into several surgeries, including a six-hour brain surgery.
“The neurosurgeon came in and said, ‘we’ve done all we can do,’ the typical line, and we don’t think she’s going to make it,” said Toby Williams, Evie’s father.
But as a true fighter, Evie had other plans. She initiated breaths on her own with the ventilator.
For the next three weeks, Evie was in a self-induced coma. She left the hospital on June 14 and is now recovering at home. The staff at Thrive Skilled Pediatric Care also assists Evie to gain back body movements.
“When I first started here, she was not really awake,” JoAnne Reyes, a physical therapist at Thrive SPC. “But now, she’s looking more, she’s giving more facial expressions and she’s just trying to move her hands more and her legs.”
Evie’s parents said her progress is slow but very positive. She now responds to kick commands, and her facial drooping, oral movement and breathing have improved.
“The ultimate hope is that she’s up, and she’s walking around, and she’s back to the way she was before,” Toby said. “These improvements … we’re grateful for those. They make me feel very hopeful.”
Prior to Evie’s diagnosis, her parents said she was an artist. She loved to dance, draw and paint.
Toby homeschooled Evie and her brother, TJ. Each night before they went to bed, Toby made them write a story that was at least three paragraphs long.
Flash forward, Evie’s parents turned the same three-paragraph stories that she had written into a published book. TJ visualized her stories and created illustrations throughout the book. “Tiny Stories by Evie” is a 30-page paperback that can be purchased on Amazon. The proceeds go toward Evie’s medical needs.
To learn more or support Evie, visit “Prayers for Evie” Facebook page. If you would like to donate, there is a GoFundMe page created to support the Williams family with Evie’s recovery.