Ollie, aged nine, has a funny, quirky sense of humour. He’s the cheeky younger brother of Gabe (11) and Jasper (13). Usually an active kid, mum Felicity grew concerned as Ollie began getting body pains and tiredness. Then his skin colour greyed. She took him for blood tests.
The news came as Felicity was out Christmas shopping with Gabe. Ollie had Leukaemia. “I felt like a truck had just landed on me,” Felicity says.
Chemotherapy began on Boxing Day. Felicity has a nursing background so felt she knew what was ahead of her. That was until the further diagnosis of chromosome 21, a rare form of the disease. Ollie’s specialist hadn’t seen a case like his in thirty years.
As relentless treatment progressed, Ollie struggled to cope. He became depressed, flat and cynical to all attempts to cheer him up. His options were to undergo more aggressive treatment, or have a bone-marrow transplant. It turned out Gabe was the perfect bone marrow match. He happily stepped up to save his little brother.
It took three attempts for Ollie to be well enough for the transplant. Then Gabe, who hates needles, got a taste of what Ollie had been experiencing as he too entered hospital to give the ultimate gift to his brother. Ollie quickly recovered, and just in time. The treatment has been rough on his body and will mean lifelong side effects and regular check-ups. But Ollie is back to his cheeky self again, and says, “I‘m a mutant. I’ve got some of him in me!”
The brothers now have a lifelong bond, and many more Christmases to look forward to.