Loving community invited to celebrate Oliver’s life
Parents want to thank hundreds touched by toddler’s story
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.
“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