VALHALLA, N.Y. (FOX 5 NY) - Theo Applebaum, 16, enjoys sports and art, which he had to stop doing two years ago.
"My son's school called me and said he was experiencing some slurring in speech and half his body wasn't functioning well," Lei Applebaum, Theo's mother, told Fox 5. "He was with the nurse and I should come to the school right away."
Theo had suffered an ischemic stroke and underwent surgery for brain hemorrhaging.
"He wasn't able to talk when he came to us, he wasn't able to walk, he had difficulty sitting up, he couldn't swallow well," said Dr. Kathy Silverman of Blythedale Children's Hospital in Valhalla. "So, we had to work with him every single day. Speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy so we could bring back those skills."
Theo went through months of therapy at Blythedale.
"I didn't realize how serious my injury was," Theo said. "I thought I could just walk out of here."
During his time in the hospital, he began watching the television series "Game of Thrones." Eventually, Theo became inspired by the series star Emilia Clarke, who revealed that she survived two brain aneurisms.
"Instead of feeling bad about himself because of the illness, he felt elevated, empowered," Applebaum said. It's was fantastic! Thank you, Emilia Clarke."
An appearance on a late night talk show inspired Theo to draw this image of his favorite "Games of Thrones" actress. It was an amazing feat considering he was unable to write.
Theo has since regained his speech, returned to his New York City high school, and even completed a bike tour in Vermont.
"He pulled himself through 200 miles. And some hills went straight up for 3 miles," his mother said. "I don't know how he did it."
Dr. Silverman said that Theo is really self-motivated.
"It was a pleasure working with him," she said.
Theo had these wise words: "The only person that's really going to help you is going to be yourself."