Heartfelt thanks for help with ill toddler
Appeal launched on behalf of three-year-old suffering rare condition
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