The family of a brave boy who captured the attention of sports and entertainment stars have described a ‘rollercoaster’ ride of emotion after he was given a new heart.
Ollie Alderson, 11, who lives with his mum and dad, Anne and Jason, and brother Josh in Chaffinch Close, Pheasants Wood, Thornton, was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a chronic disease affecting the heard muscle in November,
After months in a high-dependency unit he received a transplant at the start of August.
But it has been far from plain sailing – Ollie’s family experiencing highs and lows as medics at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital battle to prevent his body from rejecting the heart.
“It’s been a real rollercoaster ride,” said dad Jason, 43 - a financial advisor.
“The transplant was just the start. His body rejected the new heart, his immune system was fighting it.”
The situation became so serious doctors put keen footballer Ollie on an emergency transplant list.
But even when a new organ became available, the battle was not over.
Jason explained: “They found a new heart but after tests the hospital rejected it.
“They said it was too likely to be rejected by Ollie. Then it was just a case of waiting. Gradually Ollie’s body started to accept his new heart.”
Regular tests show just how difficult the road ahead will be for Ollie - a junior member of Poulton Golf Club and Thornton Cleveleys Football Club.
Jason said: “He’s gone from severe rejection down to moderate, to mild.
“The last biopsy showed he was back to moderate. We’ll see where it goes from here but we’ll stay positive.
“We know not to take anything for granted.”
Ollie remains on a cocktail of intravenous steroids and anti rejection drugs and is confined to a cubicle due to his weakened immune system.
His lengthy hospital stay has been tough on his family with his mum staying in the North East while brother and dad have made regular visits.
“It has been hard. His mum has stayed with him and we’ve been trying to get up there as much as possible,
“The support we’ve had has been extraordinary.
“We couldn’t have done without Scott House in Newcastle, where Ollie’s mum has been staying.”
The accommodation at Scott House is provided by the Sick Children Trust - a cause Ollie and his family are determined to repay.
Sport mad Ollie, who inspired comedy stars to perform at his primary school and was visited in hospital by golf ace Lee Westwood, is no stranger to fundraising, having bagged more than £2,000 through a charity comedy night at his school Anchorsholme Academy and the sale of artworks he created in hospital - all the cash going to Alder hey.
Now Ollie’s friends,family and supporters are organising a huge festive charity night at Blackpool’s Village Hotel which has already sold out. The night will raisefunds for the Sick Children Trust and for the Children’s Heart Unit Fund at Newcastle Freeman Hospital.
To make a donation visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/OlliesArtNewcastle.