'˜It's amazing... he's here and loving life'
A young boy who spent 10 months waiting for a heart donor has made an '˜amazing' recovery '“ and will soon represent Great Britain in a worldwide sporting competition.
Ollie Alderson, of Pheasants Wood, Thornton, was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a chronic disease affecting the heart muscle in November 2015.
He was kept alive for 10 months by a Â£25,000 mechanical ‘Berlin heart’ for 10 months before receiving a transplant at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital last year.
Doctors battled for months to stop his body rejecting the new heart – with some fearing he had only weeks to live.
Now the brave 12-year-old is well on his way, enjoying classes at Millfield High School and playing football for his local team at Thornton Cleveleys Football Club.
And he now has big plans to jet off to Switzerland in January to take part in the World Transplant Games.
Ollie’s dad Jason Alderson, 45, said: “They’ll teach him how to ski and snowboard and he’ll take part in the opening parade, and they’ll have the games at the end of the week
“There are people from all over the world taking part.
“He was shocked at first. His first question was would he have to go on his own. When we told him we could go with him he was chuffed.”
Ollie will take part in the winter games as a member of Team Great Britain, all of whom have all undergone either heart, lung, kidney, pancreas, bone marrow or liver transplants.
They will compete against 24 other countries in a variety of sports, including slalom skiing, snowboarding, snow shoe events and curling.
Ollie said: “We train all week and at the end we do a race in skiing or snowboarding. We’re going to win!”
He showed his gratitude to the doctors who saved his life, as he, Jason, mum Anne and little brother Josh successfully raised more than Â£14,000 for Liverpool’s Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and Newcastle Hospital thanks to donations from the Fylde coast public.
A 300-person strong celebration at The Village Hotel on East Park Drive last Saturday raised more than Â£7,000.
Jason said: “We had a signed Lee Westwood golf putter, a week in Spain, a spa package in Cheshire, and shirts signed by Alan Shearer and Rio Ferdinand. We also had a Liverpool signed shirt as well.”
Ollie must still make regular visits to Alder Hey and Newcastle for check-ups, and must have weekly injections to boost his immune system.
Jason said: “It’s been an amazing year. You go to bed at night and you see him there in his bed fast asleep, it’s the best feeling in the world.
“When he was in hospital, he had at one point just weeks to live. By chance we were really lucky to find him a donor heart.
“They didn’t think he was going to make it, but the difference in him was unbelievable.
“Just a year ago we were thinking ‘is this the end of what his life will be?’, and now we’re looking back, it’s just amazing that he’s here and loving life.”
‘Gift of life’
Lynne Holt, Team Manager at Transplant Sport said:
"Many of our transplant athletes have experienced near death situations and long illness, and it is very gratifying to see them able to enjoy a full life, thanks to organ donation.
"Without this ‘gift of life’, many of them would not now be alive.
"Every member of Team GB has already had to ‘climb a mountain’ to get through the transplant, and with their courage and determination, will enjoy the thrills of being in the mountains in Switzerland.
"Hopefully this international event will encourage others to sign on to the Organ Donor Register."