Some times you come across a story at parkrun which you know you have to share with others. When parkrun staff had a visit to Telford junior parkrun several weeks ago, I met Ollie and his amazing mum Krista whose story was quite remarkable. Here it is told in Krista's words.
"My son Ollie is six years old and his brave journey began back in 2009.
Ollie was born with a dysplastic kidney (kidney made of cysts), Ventricular Septal Defect (hole in the heart), a sub-aortic membrane (growth across the aorta damaging his heart valve), spinal tethered cord, neuropathic bladder, bifid uvula, bronchomalacia and asthma. He has had open-heart surgery and a kidney removed, as well as countless hospital visits, scans and tests.
As a single parent I found it incredibly difficult caring for my son while juggling my placements as a student nurse, but running helped me cope with the pressures surrounding Ollie’s frequent hospital appointments and health problems. Then earlier this year I started taking part in my local parkrun, and of course Ollie wanted to run one too. So what a blessing it was to discover Telford junior parkrun.
We took the first parkrun really gently because I didn’t want to push him and I wanted it to be fun. Ollie chose to wear a Captain America outfit, as he also had a heart problem, and although he was initially shy and found it hard he absolutely loved it. He especially enjoyed the superhero high fives from the marshals, and by the following Sunday he was raring to go again. His cousins have now joined in too, and he can’t wait to get his first wristband.
Ollie sweats profusely when exercising due to his heart, high blood pressure and bronchomalacia (this means part of his airway collapses) and he needs a steroid inhaler for his asthma before he runs. But although he tires more easily than other kids his age, he is so excited whenever he gets the chance to run. For a boy of such a young age to have coped with all these health problems and still be smiling just melts your heart. Whatever uncertainty Ollie may face in the future, he has the courage and bravery to face it head-on.
Running has certainly helped Ollie to build up his confidence. He has raised a significant amount of money for his hospital, which he is really proud of, and I’m sure that will continue as he gets older. If you ever meet Ollie you will discover a positive, happy boy with an amazing spirit. Just don’t forget to give him a superhero high five!