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Super Finley on the Comeback Trail

Posted by Lynn Bronikowski Apr 24 2017

There’s a super hero in the Wunderlich household in Englewood, Colo.

His name is Super Finley and at 5-years-old he’s looking forward to donning his cape and participating in the National Stroke Association’s Comeback Trail 5K walk and fun run set for May 21 at Hudson Gardens in Littleton, Colo.

Finley Wunderlich experienced a stroke while in his mother’s womb during her long hours of labor.

He wasn’t breathing when he was born by C-section on March 18, 2012, but was immediately resuscitated. While in the neonatal intensive care unit a nurse noticed that when his breathing increased, his hand twitched and she recognized the symptoms of stroke.

“It was absolutely shocking to us,” said his mother, Megan Farrugia.  “We didn’t know that babies had strokes. We had no way to prepare ourselves for getting that news.”

She and her husband, Matt Wunderlich, started reading everything they could get their hands on. Their pediatrician was by their side every step of the way.

“Neurologists told us there was no reason he had a stroke which gave us some peace, as I was racking my brain on what I might have done,” said Farrugia. “We then started figuring out a course of action.”

At the Children’s Hospital Stroke Clinic, “everyone worked together as a team for him,” said Ferrugia, who as a special education teacher knew where to turn for resources. He was slow to walk at 22 months and today has limited use of his right hand.

Early on Finley worked with physical and occupational therapists. Horse therapy, adaptive skiing and therapeutic swimming became favorite activities.

“We a super active family so he sees mom and dad have a real active life and he wants one, too,” said Farrugia. “We explore his interests and he’s got incredible perseverance. He’s had to work 100 times more than anyone else but he always wants to do it right.”

Watching Finley grow has brought the couple closer together.

“When I would be scared for all these years, my husband kept a positive outlook,” said Farrugia. “Things that people think are important, aren’t really all that important. We get to celebrate all these milestones with our family.”

Super Finley is an outgrowth of the family participating in a stroke walk.

“We wanted to do something that would tie the family together,” said Farrugia. For Finley it was a cape, for his parents a bold letter F on their blue shirts. People now are using the hashtag #SuperFinley.

“We see him as our super hero,” said Farrugia. “Every day we are overly impressed by what he’s shown to us. We always want Finley to know how proud we are of him.”

The National Stroke Association’s Comeback Trail 5K walk/fun run will begin at 9 a.m. on May 21 at Hudson Gardens in Littleton, Colo. For information and to register visit www.comebacktrail.org.

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