Sarah, Oliver's mother, shares his story
In April 2006 he was referred to our local hospital after various trips to the doctor with suspected ear infections for which he received antibiotics which didn’t work.
We also took him to our dentist for x-rays as he was getting pain on his right temple/ high jaw. Oliver was also having night sweats and restlessness. An MRI scan revealed a large tumour in his skull and he was then referred to Kings College Hospital in London where he spent a week and underwent a biopsy which revealed a Ewing sarcoma. We were then referred to The Royal Marsden for treatment as surgery wasn't an option. There he started 10 months of chemotherapy and later 6 weeks radiotherapy. He received his first dose of chemotherapy on the weekend of his 8th birthday which he described as his best ever. This is an example of his bravery and courage he showed through out his treatment. The family were separated for 6 weeks during radiotherapy as Sarah and Oliver stayed in a hospital flat near the Marsden for daily treatment and Richard stayed at home with Oliver's younger brother Joseph (4) who had just started school.
Oliver's treatment resulted in many line infections and was retrieved by ambulance to PICU at ST Georges Hospital, Tooting on two occasions and being put on a ventilator for 2 days, where we were told 'it was up to him now'. He surprised the staff with his fight and recovered well both times. Oliver also had a collapsed lung from the line insertion but managed to recover without the aid of a chest drain and again surprised staff at his strength. On one occasion he insisted on passing his own nasal gastric tube!
In the hospitals he was famous for his sense of humour, playing tricks on the nurses, telling jokes and gruesome alien toys.
Oliver finished his treatment in March 2007, by then then we received some unexpected news that we were expecting baby number 3. Oli was thrilled and was looking forward to meeting his new sister. The whole family travelled to Malta in May 2007 where Oliver celebrated his 9th Birthday and lived his dream of swimming with dolphins. We returned home and started to get back to normal life with Oliver increasing his time at school gradually. One Sunday in Mid-June Oliver woke with a swollen eye which alarmed us and we were back at our local hospital the next day for an MRI scan, and by the Friday we were back at the Marsden receiving the news we had dreaded for so long, that the tumour had returned and that there was no more curative treatment available to him. We broke the news to Oliver who said ' I didn't think it would come back so soon'. He received some oral chemotherapy to slow the tumour down.
We returned home and broke the news to family and with only 2 weeks till my due date I decided to be induced as we had so much we wanted to do with Oliver as a family while he was still well. Martha Louise arrived on the 9th July and was quickly met by her two big proud brothers. We went on holiday to France as it's where we had been going since Oliver was a baby and hadn't managed to go because of his illness. We knew it would be the last time he would be coming with us, and Oliver was desperate for a Spaghetti Bolognese in a local restaurant, so he made it. He also chose his own funeral song whist travelling back from France after listening to a CD constantly, 'Wherever you will go' by The Calling. We also took a short break to Centre Parcs another place he loved and we now have very special memories.
By September Oliver had started to get tired and plans of a trial drug became more distant and he himself decided not to go back to hospital - we respected his decision.
At home he enjoyed the things he loved, cups of sugary tea, chocolate cake, yoghurts, being read Harry Potter and story tapes. Even when we had to put a commode in his room it was like he had won the lottery and was really pleased. Oliver died at home peacefully at 4.25 am on Friday 9th November 2007. Words cannot describe how much we miss him and are so immensely proud of him and life will never be the same again. We have since set up a charity in Oliver's memory to offer families affected by childhood cancer a well deserved short break at Crowhurst Park in Battle East Sussex.