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Survivor of a teenage stroke returns to the Little Rock Marathon in 2024



Little Rock, Arkansas – Kelton Havens, 17, escaped a stroke in May 2023 after competing in the Little Rock Marathon.

Kelton Havens experienced pain beyond anything he had ever felt while playing soccer.

“I just felt something in my head just burst I didn’t know what was happening then the pains turned into a constant feeling of pressure on my brain and that lasted maybe five minutes until then I passed out and I don’t remember anything after that until maybe a month later,” Kelton Havens said.

“May 21 is when they did the initial surgery to remove the skull and save his life from the swelling that was happening inside his brain, they initially projected that it would be several months of not just at the hospital but in inpatient hospital rehab,” Jeffery Havens, Kelton’s dad said.

Kelton’s father claims that ten days following surgery, he woke up and was promptly transferred from the intensive care unit to a regular hospital room.

“They initially thought he might be in inpatient hospital rehab for up to six months just learning to walk; he had to learn to swallow again because he had significant paralysis on his right side so, that also affected his vocal cord on his right side as well,” Jeffery Havens said.

Kelton and his father found it quite distressing to consider not being able to run.

A recurring motif in Kelton’s rehabilitation is dogs. When he was unable to run, they replaced his enthusiasm for running and provided him with emotional and physical support.

“We wanted to sort of document the moments, but he would only let us take his picture if the dogs were present,” Jeffery Havens said.

“When he went for his follow-up with his neurosurgeon in July, the neurosurgeon said you know you’re ready to get your second surgery and get your skull back on, and so he was very happy cause he didn’t have to wear the helmet,” Jeffery Havens said.

When his second surgery was announced, according to Jeffrey, his first words were, “I can now run the Little Rock Marathon again.”

Kelton now wants to complete a marathon in each state.

“It’s a big passion to me it’s something I really enjoy it’s something that is a lot of fun to me and helps relieve stress,” Kelton Havens said.


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