Operation Ollie: let's get him walking
Hello everybody! My name is Ollie Dodds and I am 8 years old.
I live with my Mom and Dad, my big sister Imogen and three younger brothers, Noah, Ronnie and Finn. I am WWE mad, have a wicked sense of humour and just seem to have the ability to make people laugh wherever I go! My parents always get told by everyone that I always look so happy and smiley and that's because I am! Oh and I also have quadriplegic cerebral palsy. A disability that affects my trunk control and all four of my limbs.
Just under six years ago my family started my fundraising campaign for me as I didnt qualify for an operation called 'selective dorsal rhizotomy' (SDR) on the NHS as I am classed as being a non Walker.
This worked out for the best anyway, as it meant I got to go to the world's renowned pediatric neurosurgeon, Dr TS Park in St Louis Missouri in the USA, who specialises in cerebral palsy and SDR.
This came at a massive cost of £50,000 to cover our flights, accommodation, surgery, intensive physiotherapy at their specialist centre for 5 weeks and equipment I needed such as a kaye walker and new splints for my legs and feet.
The additional £25,000 of our target was added on due to Dr Park's recommendation that intensive physio would be needed once back home for the next 3 years, to see the full benefits of SDR. As you can see, this wasnt quite met and now we fund what we can ourselves for my physio, but it really doesnt cover much so when we do receive any donations now after so long since the original fundraising, we are always so extremely grateful as it helps us out so much!
I have been attending an intensive strength and confidence course with a personal trainer every 3 months for the past 5 years. This is what we, as a family continue to pay for now as my physiotheraphy, as I make the most progress and work my hardest here. Ideally I should be having 1 session a week with a qualified physiotherapist. This is something that is especially important as I go through big growth spurts and again I no longer qualify for on the NHS.
As well as physiotherapy, my disability means I need an array of equipment too to help me in everyday living. Most of which again has to be purchased by us as a family.
Thanks to everyone in these past 5 years and their wonderful fundraising events and donations, it has meant I have gone from being an almost 4 year old, in nappies, unable to sit independently with extreme spasticity in my legs, arms and trunk, not being able to have a comfortable bath time due not not being able to sit up and being in a special needs nursery setting, to being a confident, strong, hard working almost 9 year old who can now take steps in a walker with some assistance, fully toilet trained after 3 months post SDR, who can sit comfortably, lie down and sit up independently as I wish, enjoy bath times of splashing and playing sitting up and who looks forward to seeing my friends each morning at my mainstream school. The same school my siblings attend too.
My journey so far has been life changing and my family and I will forever be so grateful to everyone that has been apart of that. But this is my life forever. Pysiotheraphy, equipment, operations and everything in between, so where help is offered along the way to enable me to carry on making progress and live a more comfortable and independent life, we would all be incredibly thankful and accepting of kind offers and donations to help better my future.
Thank you once again,
Should we exceed the target amount the funds raised will go to the general funds of Tree of Hope to help other poorly or disabled children.