If you saw little Ollie running around, you would think he was like any other four year old. He’s charismatic, full of life and will go exploring at any opportunity he gets. But Ollie faces challenges every day after having the lower part of his leg amputated in 2016.
Ollie was diagnosed with fibular hemimelia during gestation. Parents Meg and Andrew were told about the condition at Meg’s 12 week ultrasound and were faced with one of the hardest decisions they would ever have to make – if they should continue with the pregnancy.
They contacted specialists, did hours of research, spoke to other parents of amputees and ultimately decided that there would be no greater gift in life than welcoming their first child and holding him in their arms.
The rare condition occurs once in every 40,000 births and Ollie was born with his right leg missing its fibular, an ankle structure that wasn’t fully formed and only two toes.
Despite facing adversity daily, Ollie’s determination shone through and he has never let a challenge stop him. He began crawling, pulling himself up and walking on his leg – just like any toddler would.
The family began attending appointments at the RCH to see the Limb Difference Clinic and a team of five specialists – a prosthetist, orthopaedic surgeon, physiotherapist, occupational therapist and social worker. They assessed when would be an appropriate time for an amputation. The decision was made when Meg became pregnant with her second child and Ollie was booked in at 18 months old.
At only six weeks post-surgery, Ollie was fitted with his first prosthetic leg – and he hasn’t looked back since.
Today, Ollie loves riding his balance bike, watching Paw Patrol and playing with his little brother Ethan. But most of all Ollie loves his independence. Putting his leg on is now his responsibility and he is constantly finding creative ways to complete the task efficiently.
While Ollie continues to grow he will have appointments at the hospital approximately every six months to have his prostheses reviewed. As he grows, new legs will be made for everyday use and sporting activities.
At each appointment Ollie sees his prosthetist and the Limb Difference Team who support him to hit targets for his age group and assess any goals he has as he continues to grow.
His favourite part of receiving a new leg is picking the design – changing from a fireman Sam leg to dinosaurs next.
Meg and Andrew hope that Ollie will do whatever he wants to do in life, that his prosthetic leg becomes the least interesting part of him and it never stops him from chasing his dreams. At this stage that choice is between being a fireman or Super Ollie the superhero.
Thanks to your generous support, we can make a difference to children like Ollie and help the RCH continue to be a world leader in paediatric care.