Oliver was born in 2009 and my wife Jo and I knew from those first few weeks that something was not quite right as Oliver seemed in constant pain and discomfort for no obvious reason.
After months of tests and procedures at Milton Keynes Hospital with no clear diagnosis, we were referred to the Oxford Children’s Hospital where it was discovered that he had a condition affecting his ability to digest and tolerate any food or fluids that we tried. This as you can imagine was quite scary and upsetting for Jo and I and Oliver spent much of 2009 and 2010 in and out of hospital having further tests and investigations – on some occassions following him stopping breathing, as Oliver’s body seemed to be shutting down.
Between the Oxford Children’s Hospital and Great Ormond Street Hospital he was eventually diagnosed with a condition called Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Disease (EGID). In simple terms his body has too many white blood cells called Eosinophils which are used to naturally fight allergens. In Oliver’s case these white blood cells considered everything that he swallows is an allergen and they cause inflammation of his gut, bowel and colon…without medication he is in constant pain.
With medication careful planning Oliver can now eat a greater number of foods and is relatively pain free. For this we feel truly blessed. There is no known cure for this condition, it is very rare, and must be managed through diet and medication for the rest of his life.
Referral to the Oxford Children’s Hospital and the first-rate care and support we received was the first step towards helping Oliver lead as normal a life as possible. We are now able to manage his condition and Oliver enjoys life as any other young boy of his age should.
Jack was born in June 2010 and it was quickly discovered hours after birth that he was in a critical condition and we may lose him. His condition is called imperforate anus and an anorectal malformation for those that wish to Google it. Due to the amazing care of the doctors and nurses at the Oxford Children’s Hospital, the initial life-saving operation was successful and Jack was given a colostomy bag until two further operations could be completed later in his life to reverse and rectify his condition and give him the best quality of life possible. It is beyond words to say how blessed we feel that although we came close to losing Jack on more than one occasion, he has successfully made it through all three operations and his condition should now be manageable going forward.
Jack will only just be 7 years old by the time of the 2017 OCH Golf Day and due much to the continued care and support of the Oxford Children’s Hospital, all the wonderful doctors and nurses, and in particular Professor Paul Johnson, Jack is consistently exceeding expectations with his health and well-being. Jack will have issues with his bowel for the rest of his life, but as he grows older he is learning to cope with his condition and we are determined that it will not stop him from achieving everything he wants to in life.
Jack regularly attends a clinic at the hospital and it is truly inspirational to see how the money raised over the recent years has made such a difference, something all of us should feel very proud of.
We have both found it very hard to find any way of saying more than just ‘thank you’ to the amazing doctors and nurses that have cared for not only Oliver and Jack, but also our families too. Supporting the Charity Golf Day is our way of trying to say more than just ‘thank you’ to the Oxford Children’s Hospital and in particular the people that touched our lives whilst Oliver and Jack were in hospital and continue to do so going forward.
We both also want to thank Penny who has been instrumental in arranging and supporting the golf day. Without her support we would not have this wonderful venue, raffle and auction prizes which ultimately allows us to raise as much money for the hospital as possible.
Finally, thank you to all of you for taking part today. We hope you have a great day’s golf and an enjoyable evening’s socialising whilst digging deep in your pockets to support an amazing cause in any way you can.
Sincerely much appreciated.