7-Year-Old Stroke Survivor Honored at Melting Pot Event
One little Brownie spent Sunday afternoon dipping actual brownies into custom-made chocolate fondue, made by her family, friends and even strangers who wanted to support her as she recovers from a stroke.
By the end of the Fondue It Forward event on Sunday, little 7-year-old Ana West had to sit down. She laid her head on her small right arm she'd propped on the back of a chair in a special meeting room at The Melting Pot.
She wasn't tired. Though if she were, no one would blame the little girl, who just three months ago suffered from a stroke.
No, she was stuffed. She was full of fondue– most importantly, chocolate, and she was content, pleased and well aware that she is loved.
On Sunday, Ana was the guest of honor for a special event hosted by The Melting Pot in Midtown and a nonprofit organization Pure Imagination. Layla Gunn, who owns and operates four Atlanta-area Melting Pot restaurants with her husband and who started Pure Imagination, purchased 300 Girl Scout cookies to give away.
The event, which was free but open for donations to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, was created to help Ana, a first-year Girl Scout who was unable to sell and deliver Girl Scout cookies because she was in rehab at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta learning to walk again after suffering from a stroke in November.
During the event, guests were invited to make their own Girl Scout cookie-inspired fondue creation. Ana picked her favorite and it will be featured for a limited time at each of the four metro Atlanta Melting Pot locations, and all proceeds from the special fondue flavor will benefit Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.
"She's the princess of the ball. It's awesome because she's had such a hard time these last few months," Ana's mother, Sandy West, told Midtown Patch as she choked back tears.
"It's a blessing to see how many people want to get out and be a part of this," said Denny West, Ana's father.
Ana's extended family, along with Girl Scouts that had never met Ana before, joined in on the fun to give back.
Seeing the various guests who decided to dine there just for Ana was heartwarming for her family. Doctors told her family that if Ana had been taken to the hospital just two hours later, she wouldn't have made it.
Now, Ana walks with no other assistance than a hardly noticeable leg brace. She has been able to return to school for half-days. She is now 40 percent deaf, but doctors have not determined that the hearing loss is permanent.
"It makes you very grateful for what you have, for sure," Susan West said about her granddaughter's near-death experience. "(After something like this), you don't think so far ahead in the future. We're grateful to the doctors and nurses at Children's."