7-year-old stroke victim hopes to walk again

Months ago, 7-year-old Hope Espinoza smiled ear to ear as she took the stage on the kid's beauty pageant show "Toddlers in Tiaras."

Today she's still smiling, but instead of performing before a huge television audience, only hospital staff and her family are watching as she relearns how to walk.

Last month Hope had a stroke that claimed the use of one arm, one leg and impaired her speech.

"I just broke down in tears because you don't see a 7-year-old having a stroke," Hope's mother, Michelle Espinoza, told "Good Morning America." "You don't see healthy little girls walking around, just falling into their mom's arms for no reason."

But strokes do affect children. About one child in every 8,300 under 18 years old suffers a stroke, according to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Pediatric Stroke Program. Strokes also strike one in every 4,000 newborns.

The statistics did not soften the blow for Michelle, who was watching Hope play when the stroke hit.

"I asked her if she was thirsty, and she said, 'Yeah,' so I told her to go to the water fountain to get something to drink. Then she came back and her little mouth had already dropped. She was slurring to me and was just kind of wobbly. And then, of course, she fell," Michelle said. "I was like, 'Lord, please don't take Hope,' you know? She's my only little girl."

Hope was airlifted to Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock, Ark.

Follow the link below to GMA's site on ABC.com for more details about Hope's fight for full recovery.