Heart­felt thanks for help with ill tod­dler

Ap­peal launched on be­half of three-year-old suf­fer­ing rare con­di­tion

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - by Goolis­tan Cooper goolis­tan.cooper@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

AN AP­PEAL has been launched on be­half of a ter­mi­nally-ill three-yearold boy from Uxbridge who is suf­fer­ing from an ex­tremely rare ‘brain-shrink­ing’ ill­ness.

Oliver Joyce was born with olivo­pon­to­cere­bel­lar at­ro­phy (OPCA), a life-lim­it­ing ill­ness which usu­ally af­fects adults.

He is the only child in Eng­land with the ill­ness, and one of just six chil­dren di­ag­nosed with it in the world.

The tod­dler, who lives in Uxbridge, is cur­rently in Hilling­don Hos­pi­tal fight­ing pneu­mo­nia.

Oliver’s aunt Amy Joyce has set up a fund­ing page to help his par­ents – her brother Ge­orge Joyce and mum Amie Finch – raise aware­ness of the rare ill­ness. More than £3,000 has al­ready been do­nated since it was cre­ated on March 26.

Amy said: “Oliver was born early af­ter 26 weeks with OPCA, which ba­si­cally means his brain is shrink­ing. He has had a list of ill­nesses as long as my arm, and has been in hos­pi­tal with pneu­mo­nia for the past two weeks.

“Doc­tors have said they think this is the be­gin­ning of the end for him. It doesn’t seem like his body is strong enough to fight the pneu­mo­nia, and it has spread to his other lung.

“Any­thing he gets like a cough or cold it’s a mil­lion times worse than it is for me and you.

“But they said he wouldn’t make it past two so we are lucky to have him any­way.”

Oliver was di­ag­nosed with OPCA at eight-months-old. As a re­sult of his ill-health and con­stant vis­its to hos­pi­tal his par­ents are un­able to work. It also means Oliver’s three sis­ters and one brother are of­ten looked af­ter by fam­ily and friends.

A Face­book com­mu­nity page set up by Miss Joyce had proved popular and led her to set up the fund­ing page.

She said: “Peo­ple know the fam­ily and what we are go­ing through and wanted to help – it’s got a lot big­ger than I thought it would.

“His mum is his full-time carer, she doesn’t leave his side and my brother doesn’t work at the mo­ment.

“They’re both with Oliver twenty four seven. He’s not in a po­si­tion to work, it’s hard when his son is in and out of hos­pi­tal.

“The money that is raised is a great help, and when the time comes it can help with the fu­neral and give Oliver the lovely send-off he de­serves.

“What­ever is left over we will give to Hilling­don Hos­pi­tal and Great Or­mond Street Hos­pi­tal, who have helped Oliver from day one, to help to­wards the re­search of OPCA.”

Money and mes­sages left on the fund­ing site have touched the hearts of Oliver’s par­ents.

His mother wrote: “Thank you so much ev­ery­one, it truly is over­whelm­ing how many kind hearted peo­ple there are. Thank you so much for your kind words they mean a lot xxx.”

His dad said sim­ply: “Thank you every­body. This is truly amaz­ing. Xx”.

To see Oliver’s go­fundme page go to www.go­fundme.com/qaz4tg Oliver’s Face­book page is at www. face­book.com/oliv­er­joyceopca

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