Health Team

Chapel Hill camp helps young stroke victims

Posted June 27, 2011 5:30 p.m. EDT
Updated June 27, 2011 6:19 p.m. EDT

— Partial paralysis due to a stroke isn't just a problem for adults. Children can suffer strokes due to problems at birth or after a brain trauma.

One Chapel Hill summer camp is trying to help those kids overcome their weakness.

UNC Hospitals occupational therapist Holly Holland started the "Helping Kids with Hemiplegia Camp" at Scroggs Elementary School in Chapel Hill six years ago to provide experimental therapy for children.

First-year physical therapy students like Sarah Yancey volunteer their time to work with each child. Using constraint therapy, the campers put a cast on their good arm, which forces them to use their weaker arm.

“The goal overall is to work on the motor function and their sensory improvement in their hand,” Holland said.

A program in Alabama offers the therapy in a 21-day course, but Holland says the costs are beyond what most families can afford. Her camp operates through grants and donations so money won't keep children from overcoming their disability.

“These kids have the potential to be independent and productive citizens,” Holland said. “I want them to think that they can do anything that they put their mind to.”

UNC researchers are tracking the progress of several children at the camp to evaluate the effectiveness of constraint therapy.

Those wishing to donate to the camp can do so through North Carolina Children's Promise's website. Or, for more information, email Holland at