Lov­ing com­mu­nity in­vited to cel­e­brate Oliver’s life

Par­ents want to thank hun­dreds touched by tod­dler’s story

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Will Ack­er­mann will.ack­er­mann@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

THE fam­ily of an Uxbridge tod­dler who died of a rare ‘brain-shrink­ing’ ill­ness are invit­ing those who have sup­ported them to the young­ster’s fu­neral to­day (Wed­nes­day) as a show of thanks.

Oliver Joyce touched the hearts of read­ers, af­ter we told of his brave fight against O l ivo p o n t o c e reb e l l a r at­ro­phy (OPCA), a life­lim­it­ing ill­ness that causes the de­gen­er­a­tion of neu­rons in parts of the brain.

More than 930 peo­ple have ‘liked’ a Face­book page set up by the three­year-old’s aunt, Amy Joyce, and well-wish­ers have do­nated more than £4,600 through a fundrais­ing web­site she launched.

Miss Joyce, 30, from Slough, said: “They’ve made a very, very hard time a bit eas­ier with all their sup­port, so if they want to come to the fu­neral they are very wel­come.”

The fu­neral will be held

The Uxbridge Gazette Se­ries at St Lau­rence Cowley church, in Church Road, Cowley, at 10.30am to­day (Wed­nes­day, May 6), be­fore a burial cer­e­mony at the Cherry Lane Ceme­tery, in Shep­is­ton Lane, Hayes, at 11.30am.

De­tails have yet to be fi­nalised for the wake af­ter­wards.

Miss Joyce said: “His mum has said if peo­ple want to turn up that’s lovely. It’s not the big­gest of churches, but the rev­erend has said peo­ple can stand out­side.”

Oliver was born with OPCA, which usu­ally af­fects adults and has no known cure. At eight months old, he be­came the only child in Eng­land – and one of only six world­wide – to be di­ag­nosed with de­gen­er­a­tive dis­or­der.

He died of pneu­mo­nia at Hilling­don Hos­pi­tal on Thurs­day, April 23, sur­rounded by his fam­ily.

Miss Joyce said: “He was the most calm, bub­bly boy you’d ever meet. Even with all the is­sues he had – be­cause the list is end­less – he’d al­ways put a smile on your face.

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“Ev­ery day he just made the most out of what he could do. When they worked out what it was he had they ac­tu­ally said he wouldn’t even sit up, he wouldn’t smile, he wouldn’t walk, talk or crawl or any­thing.

“He did most of that, apart from walk­ing and talk­ing. He’s def­i­nitely made the most out of ev­ery day that he did have and he’s proven them all wrong. For him to get this far is amaz­ing.”

Oliver’s par­ents, Ge­orge Joyce and Amie Finch, have been un­able to work while act­ing as their son’s full-time car­ers.

They plan to use some of the money do­nated to them to fund the fu­neral. Any that is left over they plan to give to Hilling­don Hos­pi­tal’s Peter Pan ward, where Oliver re­ceived much of his care.

Miss Joyce said: “He was born at St Thomas’ in Lon­don but he went back to Hilling­don and from the day he went back there he’s just been so looked af­ter. All the nurses know him and have cared for him from day one.

“We just want to say a mas­sive thank you to the nurses of the Peter Pan ward and his doc­tor, Michelle Cruwys.”

Oliver leaves his brother Tommy, 16, and sis­ters Casey, 15, Emily, 11, and Trinity, nine.

To do­nate to the ap­peal for Oliver go to www. go­fundme.com/qaz4tg or face­book.com/ oliv­er­joyceopca

n BRAVE: Tod­dler Oliver Joyce died aged three af­ter bat­tling a rare ‘brain-shrink­ing’ ill­ness af­fect­ing only six chil­dren world­wide

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