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Family will cherish each day with Ollie
EACH day is a renewed struggle for cerebral palsy sufferer Ollie Samways and his family, as the little boy holds on to his fragile life.
But the six-year-old’s ability to bear pain and the constant strain on his body has never ceased to amaze doctors and his parents.
Ollie, of Rodbourne Cheney, was born with brain damage and as a result suffers from epilepsy and can experience up to 100 seizures each day. He is visually impaired, has respiratory problems and is prone to regular and severe chest infections. A tube was inserted into his stomach to help him breathe and swallow.
But Ollie, who was expected to die shortly after his birth and, later, was given just a year to live, pulled through and grew to become a happy boy with a penchant for tickles and a soft spot for his three-year-old sister Shayla.
Over the past 18 months, Ollie contracted several chest infections, weakening him terribly and offsetting regular epilepsy attacks.
But last summer, his health deteriorated at such an alarming rate that his family prepared themselves for the worst.
His mother Marie McVicker, 30, said she and her husband Mark, 35, felt their son slipping away from them. She said: “The last 18 months he had constant infections. During the summer both his lungs became full of fluid. He took the most awful turn. The whole family came in to say goodbye and I started planning the funeral.
“But in the middle of the night he just turned that corner. I was dozing off and he started laughing in his bed. He does not have a huge life expectancy. We know he is going to die so we make each day as if it was our last with him. I take a photo of him every single day.
“He has got a great sense of humour, considering what he goes through, and smiles a lot. He is tough; he’s my miracle boy.”
Without Oxford hospice Helen and Douglas House, which welcomes sick children from across Swindon and supports their families, Marie believes her son would not have survived as long as he has.
She said: “He goes there three nights every four weeks to catch anything that’s coming or deal with any chest infections. He has been going since he was 18 months.
“Without Helen House I don’t think he would be here now. They’ve kept us together as a family. It’s been a lifeline.
“When he goes to Helen House it means I can sleep and we try to be as normal as we can for our daughter. We go away for a few days and we can also drop in for the day. For me to look after Ollie I need to look after myself and Helen House lets me do that.
“I’ve had bad days where they’ve given me a cup of tea and let me have a good cry. They are part of the family.”
Marie is determined to do everything she possibly can to help the hospice raise the £1m necessary for major refurbishment.
The charity Helen & Douglas House has received £436,000 from NHS England toward the revamp but needs a further £1m to complete essential modernisation work.
To make a donation, visit www.helenanddouglas.org.uk, email fundraising@helenanddou glas.org.uk or call 01865 799150.
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