Miss Hawaii Teen United States Sheryl Wolfe Dies After Massive Stroke
The 18-year-old reigning Miss Hawaii Teen United States and Miss Hawaii Teen Princess has died after suffering a massive stroke. Sheryl Wolfe was declared brain dead Monday at the Queen’s Medical Center. A compassionate teen, she designated herself to be an organ donor on her driver’s license.
She missed her senior high school prom and would have competed in the Miss Hawaii Teen World Pageant next month.
Ms. Wolfe was a healthy young woman without any known prior medical problems who played soccer and ran track and field. Her family describes her as “lively.” She collapsed in her Mililani High School class on April 13, and a brain scan showed extensive bleeding, indicative of a hemorrhagic stroke.
Only about 15 percent of all strokes are hemorrhagic. Unlike ischemic strokes, these types of events are not typically caused by lifestyle or health factors such as obesity, high blood pressure or diabetes.
Hemorrhagic strokes usually result either from a ruptured vessel, causing blood to leak into the brain or a rupture in the lining of the vessel creating a blood clot that leads to an obstruction in the blood supply to the brain. The most common risk factors for children with hemorrhagic strokes are vascular malformations, damaged or fragile blood vessels, blood disorders such as leukemia or Sickle cell disease, and intracranial brain tumors.
Children and teenagers may have one or more of the following symptoms when having hemorrhagic stroke:
• Severe headache especially with vomiting and sleepiness
• New appearance of seizures, especially if they affect one side of the body and are followed by paralysis on the side of the seizure activity
• Loss of consciousness after one or more of the above symptoms
• Weakness or numbness of the face, arm or leg, usually on one side of the body
• Trouble walking due to weakness or trouble moving one side of the body
• Problems speaking or understanding language, including slurred speech, trouble trying to speak, inability to speak at all, or difficulty in understanding simple directions
• Trouble seeing clearly in one or both eyes
• Severe dizziness or unsteadiness that may lead to losing balance or falling
Strokes in young people are unusual events. The American Heart Association says that approximately 700,000 Americans will suffer a stroke this year, with about 5,000 to 10,000 of those occurring in children under the age of 18. Roughly about 12% of children who have strokes will die; about 50% will have serious, long-term disabilities. About one-third of child stroke survivors will have another stroke.
Sheryl Wolfe’s family donated her two kidneys, pancreas and liver to patients waiting for transplants. Felicia Wells-Williams, family services director at the center, said, "Her compassionate decision to designate 'donor' on her (driver's) license, and her family's willingness to honor her wishes, now provide the gift of hope for a healthy future for others in our community."
Ms. Wolfe is survived by her parents, Allen and Estrella, and an elder brother and sister.