Unaiah back at school after severe brain bleed

  • In good spirits: Unaiah Ball (Photograph supplied)

    In good spirits: Unaiah Ball (Photograph supplied)

  • Brave girl: Unaiah Ball at the Boston Children’s Hospital (Photograph supplied)

    Brave girl: Unaiah Ball at the Boston Children’s Hospital (Photograph supplied)


A schoolgirl who suffered a severe brain bleed over the summer has returned home for the start of the new school year.

On Friday, the family of 13-year-old Unaiah Ball will host a potluck to pay for the cost of her remaining medical bills.

Undreah Castle, Unaiah’s mother, said: “She still has to do a bunch of surgery to get back to regular activities.

“She can’t do any regular activities right now but she’s in good spirits and she still loves baking.”

She added: “She honestly hasn’t had to use the wheelchair since we’ve been back and that’s on her account.

“She says ‘nope, I don’t need it’, she tries to walk as much as she can.”

Unaiah, from Devonshire, was airlifted to the Boston Children’s Hospital on July 5 after she suffered an aneurysm and collapsed.

Ms Castle said her daughter spent almost two months in recovery until she was able to return to Bermuda in late August.

But now Unaiah is back in good spirits and is attending physical therapy to regain her strength.

Ms Castle explained: “She is pretty much doing daily tasks on her own like getting dressed, brushing her teeth and showering.

“Her biggest struggle is her balance and co-ordination, especially when it comes to dance, but this should come back with time.”

Her daughter will undergo a CT scan and an MRI in February to examine her brain.

The scans will be sent to her doctors in Boston and they will decide whether she needs emergency surgery.

Ms Castle also said: “We’ll definitely have to fly out in August, which will be a year from when she got the surgery, to get another surgery.

“It will be an angiogram, where they go in through her groin, go up through the main artery in her neck and then insert dye into that so they could see her brain.

“It just gives a better picture of her brain for a checkup.”

Shawnette Bell, Unaiah’s aunt, said that her niece had become gravely ill at the start of the summer.

She explained that Unaiah complained of a headache one morning that soon devolved into an excruciating pain and was forced to go to the hospital.

Unaiah’s condition worsened to the point where she fainted outside the hospital and was immediately airlifted to the United States.

Ms Bell said: “They found out while she was in Boston that she was born with a brain artery malformation.

“This means some of the veins in the back of her head are tangled and they just recently began to bleed out into her brain.”

Doctors at the Boston Children’s Hospital performed two emergency operations and later removed the tangle once the bleeding subsided.

Now, Unaiah has made an almost full recovery and is enrolled in half-schooldays at the Whitney Institute Middle School.

Unaiah was assisted by a buddy at school who helps her with her daily school activities, Ms Bell said.

She added: “Her mother posts videos and pictures of her on social media and she’s just a normal girl. You can’t really tell that something has happened to her.”

Ms Bell said her niece’s medical bills had been covered by the Lady Cubitt Compassionate Association.

However, she added that the family would have to reimburse the organisation for their work and planned to hold a potluck on October 4.

Ms Bell explained that the potluck would be hosted at First Baptist Church in Devonshire, with tickets at $20 a plate.

She added that a GoFundMe page was launched on July 7 and had collected about $40,000 for Unaiah’s recovery in one month.

While the proceeds went to the association, there was still more to pay off, Ms Castle said.

She explained: “I still don’t have an amount for the LCCA, but we know it’s going to be a hefty amount.”

To purchase tickets, call 331-3168 or 533-8163

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Published Oct 1, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Oct 1, 2019 at 6:31 am)

Unaiah back at school after severe brain bleed

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