A six-year-old Kitchener girl is recovering in hospital after she suffered a major stroke.

Ava McIntyre was undergoing a routine procedure to repair a heart condition that she was born with. That surgery was successful, but afterwards, a blood clot traveled to the left side of her brain.

“Things just took a turn for the worst,” says Ava's mother Denise. “She flatlined right in front of me.”

The young girl has had two more surgeries since to deal with the complications, during which part of her skull was removed.

She’s doing better now, but her mother says Ava isn’t the same vibrant, excited little girl.

“I know she’s frustrated wondering why she can’t talk or why she can’t really move,” she says as she tears up. “My heart breaks for her because I can’t take her pain away.”

It’s been a hard situation for the family: they say they haven’t been home since she Ava's stroke almost two weeks ago.

Expenses are also adding up.

“As a single income parent, she’s doing this on her own,” says relative Johannes Bartlett. “She’s self-employed, so she doesn’t have a pension.”

Bartlett set up an online fundraiser to help the family through what doctors predict will be a long road to recovery. As of 7 p.m. Monday, it had raised almost $9,000.

Ava is expected to be transferred to a rehabilitation hospital in Toronto in the next week or so.

Her mother says that’s where she’ll have to relearn how to walk, talk, read and write.