Sonali Patel is a thriving 10-year-old girl whose bright smile lights up a room when coaxed from a seemingly shy exterior.
With math and art as her favorite subjects, she’s learning to play the violin and loves riding her new bike. She’s a typical girl in many respects. But in one way that’s invisible when you meet her, she’s had a serious medical journey to which few can relate.
Her long black hair covers a faint scar on her scalp, where last summer a pediatric neurosurgeon removed an arteriovenous malformation – AVM for short – on the left side of her brain. An AVM is essentially a tangle of blood vessels in the brain that connects arteries and veins, disrupting the normal process where arteries take oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the brain and veins carry the blood back to the lungs and heart to get infused again with oxygen.