It was during the 20-week pregnancy scan that Ollie’s parents were made aware that he had a heart defect. Ollie was born in 2005 with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome- a condition where the left lower pumping chamber (or ventricle) is missing, meaning that his heart is unable to pump or circulate blood around the body effectively.
Just five days after he was born, Ollie had his first open heart surgery operation. By the time he was three-years-old, Ollie had undergone three major open-heart surgery sessions. Whilst he occasionally struggled with certain activities, was slower than his peers and often unable to engage in many physical games, Ollie was generally a happy child, and was accepting of his health challenges.
However, at the age of ten, Ollie contracted plastic bronchitis, a rare lymphatic flow disorder that causes severe respiratory issues. The disorder triggers lymph fluid build-ups and forms plugs known as ‘casts’ which blocks the airways, making it difficult to breathe. “The doctor had only ever seen one case of plastic bronchitis with a child before” explains Ollie’s mum, Katherine.
Last year Ollie started coming along with his friends to one of The Door’s open access youth clubs at The Pod in Stonehouse and has since been taking part in mentoring too.
Ollie’s limited mobility was affecting his school life and social life; through talking to his mentor they began to come up with a plan to fundraise for a trike that would help him get around more independently.
Ollie’s Mentor tells us “Mentoring Ollie has been great. We just talk. And talk! I’ve learned all about gaming, at which Ollie is – literally – a Master. I’m full of admiration for Ollie. He is facing some major challenges in his life and despite them he is fun, curious and actually quite a wise person.”
Little did they know that thanks to the amazing community spirit of the young people at The Door’s Youth Clubs, donations from the local community and financial support from Heart Heroes that their £2000 target was well inside their reach!
“I’m amazed and delighted at how quickly the funds were raised for Ollie’s electric trike. It just goes to show that there’s an enormous pool of goodwill out there. He can now be far more mobile and the exercise will help his general fitness.”
Kelly Cornish from Heart Heroes explains “we read Ollie’s story on Social Media and as a charity that supports children living with Heart conditions, we wanted to help.
The young people and volunteers at The Door had raised a fantastic amount already, so our small contribution meant that Ollie could have his trike sooner. And we’re so pleased to be celebrating with them this weekend”
Ollie’s Mum Katherine says:
“The tricycle is important because Oliver doesn’t have the energy to ride a normal bike but he also needs to keep himself healthier with exercise due to his Conditions. Ever since Ollie knew the trike had been ordered he was excited and increasingly to the day it was delivered. He has been out on it several times and the assistance it gives him is noticeable.
It was something that most people take for granted i.e riding a bike that Oliver simply couldn’t do. It will make a massive change to his ability to get out and about. We can only thank everybody involved in whatever they did for making this happen.
Ollie says “riding the Trike is so much easier than a bike or walking. I can go much further and not get out of breath. When I want a rest the motor helps do the work for me. It will be so much help in getting out and keeping up with my friends and family. I am stunned at how many people have helped make this happen, but really happy”