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Young Stroke Survivor’s Journey to College 

Young Stroke Survivor’s Journey to College 

Young Stroke Survivor’s Journey to College 

At just 17 years old, Samarth Kunhody was a Boy Scout, took advanced high school classes, and was eagerly applying for colleges to pursue a degree in Data Science. But while touring prospective colleges in Southern California in July 2022, Samarth felt the worst headache of his life.  

Samarth suffered a stroke and was quickly admitted to Miller’s Children Hospital, where doctors discovered he was born with a brain AVM (arteriovenous malformation). This tangle of vessels in the brain had ruptured, causing hemiplegia (one-sided weakness).  

Samarth spent four months recovering in Southern California hospitals. When he returned home to the Bay Area, Samarth stopped receiving daily therapy. But when his mother read about another young CNS patient with a similar brain injury, they found hope in the possibility of a full recovery. “It had been months since I had been in any therapy. I thought this would be my golden ticket to recovery,” he recalled. 

Samarth first arrived at the Centre for Neuro Skills San Francisco clinic in March 2023. He could only walk for five minutes before feeling pain and fatigue. “I didn’t want to be stuck in a wheelchair my whole life. I wanted to live as close to a normal life as possible,” he said. 

Physical Therapist Trevor Hawks said that Samarth’s commitment and dedication during therapy provided a foundation for his long-term recovery and return to independence. “Within six months, Samarth’s transformation was incredible. He could walk over a mile without any pain.”  Samarth also continued his high school studies during his time at CNS, achieving the highest scores on his AP exams. By working closely with his physical therapists, Samarth was able to graduate on time with his peers and independently walk the stage at his graduation. 

CNS Patient, Samarth in therapy at CNS.“Physical therapy was the most challenging, but I’m grateful for how hard they pushed me,” Samarth reflected. “They allowed me to use my love of music during therapy as motivation.”  

Despite his mother’s worries about moving to another state and starting school in the fall, Samarth is independently and confidently walking around campus at the University of Washington. Samarth has happily found a welcoming college community and says his wheelchair is now a decoration in his apartment. Samarth achieved straight A’s during his first semester.  He dreams of a career in data science within the music industry and is one step closer to achieving his goals.