Campaign to help Oliver take big steps forward

A street collection in Lowestoft raised money for Oliver's Footsteps Fund.

A street collection in Lowestoft raised money for Oliver's Footsteps Fund. - Credit: Archant

Like any enthusiastic five year old boy, Oliver Whittington loves dressing up in super hero costumes, going swimming and playing with his friends at school.

But after being born premature, and suffering a bleed on the brain, the brave youngster was diagnosed with cerebral palsy – which has meant that he can't stand or walk unaided.

While Oliver, from Oulton Broad, has had to forego things that other children of a similar age would take for granted, he now has a 'big year ahead' – after being selected for a major operation at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London next June.

However this SDR (Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy) surgery – which is the same operation Carlton Colville youngster Owen Baldry had a couple of years ago – is not funded on the NHS, and so the Whittington family have launched a fund-raising campaign – Oliver's Footsteps.

Appealing for public support in helping to make their dreams to come true – by helping to give him the one gift this festive season that he vitally needs above all others – they are hoping it will enable Oliver to walk unaided for the first time in the future.

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Born on May 24, 2010, his mum Clare recalled: 'Oliver was born so early – he was born 12 weeks premature at the James Paget University Hospital – and was in the neo-natal unit for eight weeks. He was born with a bleed upon the right side of his brain and he now has cerebral palsy, which means that he can't stand or walk unaided and he needs help to do things that other children take for granted. Despite these challenges Oliver is a happy boy with a very cheeky personality.'

The Oliver's Footsteps campaign was launched this month by his parents Clare and Tom to help raise funds for an operation at GOSH – but unfortunately after being selected as just one of 128 children nationally for the surgery the family discovered earlier this month that the funding was no longer available.

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Mrs Whittington said: 'It has basically been a learning journey for us all from day one. But nothing fazes Oliver at all.'

The campaign is now aiming to raise the £24,000 needed for the operation – and people in Lowestoft are being encouraged to support the families goal 'to get Oliver walking.'

Mrs Whittington added: 'Hopefully dreams can come true – and if Oliver was able to walk unaided it would be the best present and the icing on the cake for us all.'

A series of fund-raising events are planned for the new year, and after a street collection in Lowestoft town centre last Sunday along with pupils from Oulton Broad Primary School – which Oliver attends – singing carols at the Morrisons store in south Lowestoft last week, the appeal has already reached £1,000.

Mrs Whittington praised the 'amazing generosity' of people throughout the town for all their donations, and to support Oliver and his family visit or type Oliver's Footsteps into Facebook.

? Have you got a charity story in Lowestoft? Email or call 01502 525820.

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