Hero boy, aged 5, saves mum’s life after stroke

Lee Johnston gives mum Maria Black a cuddle. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Lee Johnston gives mum Maria Black a cuddle. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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HE may only be five years old, have just started school and be crazy about toy cars, but that didn’t stop plucky Lee Johnston saving his mother’s life.

As he ran round his local park, enjoying the last of the summer sunshine, his mum Maria Black recalled her terrifying ordeal, saying: “If it wasn’t for Lee, I wouldn’t be here today – he’s a hero.”

Lee tried to wake me up by feeding me a Mars bar and giving me some Lucozade


The 46-year-old can’t remember much about Tuesday, July 7 – the day she was found unconscious – but according to her family, she only had a five per cent chance of survival after suffering a stroke in the early hours of the morning.

If fast-thinking Lee hadn’t climbed up on to a shelf to answer their house phone when it rang later that same day, Maria believes she “wouldn’t be here today”.

The mother-of-one said she and Lee had spent two weeks in Staffordshire, for a family bereavement, in the weeks prior to the incident.

She became ill with a chest infection but decided to wait until she got home to seek medical advice.

After two train journeys, the pair finally returned to their Craigentinny home in the early hours of the Tuesday morning.

Maria said: “I can’t remember much after we got home, just that we were exhausted after the journey and it was after midnight.

“My best friend Jackie had called me the day before and I told her I would be home, so she had planned to come and visit us the next day.”

What happened next still remains a blur to the full-time mum, who suffers from Type 1 Diabetes.

She said: “I took a stroke but I have no recollection of it.

“All I remember is waking up in hospital eight days later thinking I had been away on holiday.

“I collapsed on the couch. It must have happened shortly after we got home because I can’t remember anything.

“Apparently Lee had slept on top of me all night because he thought I was asleep, and in the morning he tried to wake me up by feeding me a Mars bar, and giving me some Lucozade.

“It wasn’t until Jackie came round the next day and nobody answered the door that she knew something was wrong.”

After Maria failed to answer the door, worried Jacqueline Hext, 30, dialled her house number.

Jacqueline said: “I didn’t have Maria’s house number in my mobile so I had to wait until I got home. Lee answered and said: “Mummy’s asleep, I’ve tried but she isn’t waking up.”

Immediately, Jacqueline made her way back to Maria’s flat, where the youngster managed to open three locks on the front door to let her in.

Jacqueline said: “It was so scary. Maria was just lying on the couch breathing heavily and I knew something seriously wasn’t right, so I dialled 999.”

Shortly afterwards, Maria’s parents – Morag and George Paraskevakis – arrived in panic to collect Lee as their daughter was whisked off to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, and they were told to “prepare for the worst” by paramedics. But after spending eight days in intensive care, and suffering bleeding to the brain, Maria finally woke up from a coma and was discharged five days later.

She has since spent a month and a half recovering at her parents’ house in Tollcross, only returning to her home in Loganlea Loan two weeks ago.

Maria said: “The doctors said my stroke might have been prevented if my chest infection had been treated sooner, but it was nothing to do with my diabetes.

“I am so proud of Lee. I wouldn’t be here today if it hadn’t been for him climbing over me to answer the phone.

“He had been trying to wake me up by feeding me a Mars bar, he’s so brave.

Lee smiled at his mum and said: “I got a chair and had to climb up high to open three locks to help.

“I’m a hero and I got a new Playmobil farm.”