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Kirk pen pals with young Illinois stroke victim

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013 3:30 p.m. CST

HIGHLAND PARK (AP) — U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk and an 11-year-old from central Illinois have become pen pals after both suffered strokes.

The Highland Park Republican's office is releasing a series of letters between Kirk and Jackson Cunningham of Oakwood. Cunningham first wrote the senator in February of 2012, three weeks after Kirk suffered an ischemic stroke.

Cunningham suffered a stroke the year before and was partially paralyzed on the right side of his body. He told Kirk that all his therapy had paid off.

The pair exchanged dozens of letters in which Cunningham briefed Kirk on his progress in therapy, home and school.

Cunningham advised Kirk "not (to) give up" on himself. Kirk nicknamed Cunningham "little cabbage."

Kirk's spokesman says Cunningham visited the senator at his Highland Park home and later in Washington.

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