In 2013, just before his third birthday, Ollie suffered a huge stroke. Emma, 31, and her partner Nick Weugh found Ollie convulsing in bed and Emma, who is a health-care assistant on a neurology ward, knew her son was seriously ill. Ollie was rushed to hospital unconscious and suffering from paralysis down his left side. Although he appeared to recover quickly, a hospital MRI scan showed that Ollie had multiple cavernomas and one of the cavernomas had bled causing the stroke. Emma agreed that Ollie should undergo surgery to remove the ruptured cavernoma.
Ollie’s operation was on the 1st April 2015. “He was very brave” said Emma, “The first thing he did when he woke up in intensive care was give us a smile and his thumbs-up sign – even though it took all the energy he had to get his thumb into the air.”
The six-hour operation was a success, but Ollie still suffers from tiredness and headaches, which are controlled by medication. “Ollie knows that there are things in his brain that shouldn’t be there, and that one of them was naughty,”
Emma advised, “He has had more seizures since and he is able to tell us when he is feeling wobbly, but it is hard for him to understand why he can’t always play rough-and-tumble games with his brothers Jake and Harrison.”
‘There are a lot of “what ifs”, and for months afterwards I was worried that he would have another stroke in the night. But although I can’t help checking on him, gradually I am beginning to believe that he is going to be OK.’
Ollie and his family helped raise £1,500 for Cavernoma Alliance UK by organising a sponsored walk across the Tay Bridge in Dundee.
On the 5th October 2015, Ollie Holt was presented with a WellChild Charity Award by His Royal Highness Prince Harry. Ollie aged 5, was the winner of the Inspirational Child award in the 4 to 6 age group. The award was given in recognition of Ollie’s bravery and cheerfulness in dealing with his cavernoma. Ollie’s mum Emma said, “He is thrilled with his WellChild Award, which he plans to place alongside Jake’s (his brother) football trophies. He has been so brave and now, through WellChild, we are able to let him know just what a special boy he is”
WellChild is a national charity for sick children and more about the WellChild Awards can be viewed on the WellChild website.