OLATHE, Kan. -- After suffering a stroke, 16-year-old Blake Ephraim has been absent from Olathe South and her cheerleading squad. She’s been in the hospital and made her first visit back to school on Friday.
“I kept crying because I miss them so much!” Ephraim said.
After suffering a stroke about a month ago, Blake Ephraim showed up to her cheerleading practice on Friday night...unexpectedly.
“That was the whole goal was to get back here for this weekend, see her walk in and be with her friends, and to see a group of cheerleaders so quiet is awe-inspiring," said her mom, Lisa Wilcox,
“Oh my gosh, it was amazing,” said her friend, Holly Hinson, “It's just so good to know that she's doing so well and that she'd come and surprise us.”
“It makes me so happy!” added Blake.
Her mom said the last few weeks have been very difficult.
“Cheer is our life in our house with Blake, and between south team and her competitive team, and to call those coaches three weeks before competition season and say, 'Blake had a stroke and changes will have to be made,' was really hard.”
Blake’s friends say it hasn't been easy for them either.
“School's been really different, really hard, because it's like, someone who's been by my side for seven years is gone for a while,” added Hinson, “It's just really hard to get through the day.”
Despite the severity of the situation, Blake’s mom said her daughter did everything she could to make it back in time for her squads competition tomorrow.
“She just kept fighting,” said Lisa, “She just wanted to be here.”
“I've been feeling better and better and it doesn't hurt as much as it was supposed to,” Blake said.
And they switched places for a while!
“My job was to be her cheerleader the last few weeks,” Blake’s mom said.
The Falcons said Friday's surprise at practice came at a perfect time...a big competition is tomorrow.
“She's probably our biggest motivation right now,” said Holly.
“I miss everything,” Blake said, “And it makes me sad that I’m not doing it right now, but I know that I’m going to figure out how to get better and hopefully next year I can do it again.”
Blake is now at home and she'll continue outpatient therapy from a hospital in the Kansas City area. As of right now they don't know what the cause of the stroke was, and they're meeting with doctors Monday to hopefully learn more about what caused it.