Olly's Story - 12 Days of Christmas Giving Appeal

18 Dec 2020

2020 has been a very challenging year for most people in our community. However, it has been especially stressful for the Smith family, as they navigated ongoing treatment and care  for their little boy Oliver throughout a world-wide pandemic.

At just three years of age, Oliver Smith was diagnosed with Hunter Syndrome.

Hunter Syndrome is an X-linked genetic disease caused by the deficiency of enzyme iduronate-2-sulfatase.

Olly is a regular patient of the Cotton On Foundation Children’s Ward at University Hospital, and attends the ward one day every week, and will for the rest of his life, for life saving ERT (enzyme replacement therapy).

Devastatingly, if left untreated patients with Hunter Syndrome would have a life expectancy of only ten to twelve years.

However this weekly treatment helps patients like Olly achieve a longer life expectancy of more than 20 years.

The treatment also allows Olly to increase his mobility and provides a better quality of life.

Christmas is full of inspiration— this Christmas patients like Olly are hoping to inspire the community to support the Barwon Health Foundation’s Twelve Days of Giving Campaign.

Due to COVID-19 the Cotton On Children’s Ward at University Hospital is unable accept the generous donations of gifts to the ward this year and are hoping instead this year the community will jump on board and donate so the ward can purchase new suitable gifts for those children spending time in hospital this Christmas.

Donations will also help to fund vital medical equipment and patient comfort and care including music therapy for young patients and support for programs such as the Maternity Family Bereavement program.

Whilst Olly will unfortunately still require treatment throughout the Christmas period, Olly’s Mum Laura is grateful to be a part of the Barwon Health Foundation’s Twelve Days of Giving campaign so that they can give back and help make Christmas a little brighter for kids just like Olly,

“I’m really happy to be involved in the Christmas Appeal. When Olly was first diagnosed we spent a lot of time up in Melbourne at the Royal Children’s Hospital. However recently staff here at Barwon Health have been able to organise a room for us each week allowing us to have treatment close to home.

This has made a massive difference to our lives.  Going up to Melbourne each week had a huge impact in our week and our family. Spending time in Christmas isn’t fun, and we hope this appeal will help ensure other families like us who will be in hospital over Christmas have a slightly brighter time,” she says.

By donating to a special patient gift or purchasing an item from the Christmas Wish List, you can help fund vital medical equipment, as well as comfort and care items that will bring joy to people spending Christmas in the care of Barwon Health.

The Barwon Health Foundation’s greatest wish this Christmas is to provide the comfort and care needed for those spending time in hospital this festive season.

Please donate today to the Barwon Health Foundation’s Twelve Days of Giving Campaign, helping to support the comfort and care of patients spending time in hospital this Christmas.

Click here to donate to the Christmas Appeal.