Tuesday, 1 July 2014
Cometh the hour, walketh the Wee Man
Six months ago today - on 1 January - little Oliver Dickey's mum Charlene launched an online appeal to do something remarkable for her boy.
You'll almost certainly be very familiar with the story by now and, if not, where have you been? But just in case, 5-year-old Oliver from Coleraine was diagnosed with the spastic diplegia form of cerebral palsy at just 18 months and needs an operation to help him walk.
The stumbling block was that St Louis Children's Hospital in Missouri was his best option and the operation had a £60,000 price tag attached to it.
But, you know, we Coleraine folk are nothing if not determined, so getting the cash was merely a minor challenge. And a mere two months later, the target had been reached. With much of Oliver's aftercare still to be covered, the money the continued to flow in and more than £110,000 has now been raised at the last count. Easy.
Now the hard bit.
The Dickey family arrived in the United States over the weekend and, at 4.45pm today, the wee man goes in for his big op.
But there is already good news to report.
24 hours ago, Oliver went to see the legendary Dr Park (pictured above) for his assessment. Throughout the past six months, Charlene has always made clear that the procedure was only ever expected to give Oliver the ability to get himself around in a protected environment - to visit the toilet, pick up a toy, that sort of thing.
But yesterday Dr Park had a new take on things. After examining our little hero, he told the Dickey family that he now expects Oliver to gain the ability to walk indoors and outdoors. And, what's more, there is no reason to think that, with intensive physio, this will not happen within 12 months.
The very best of fortune and fortitude to everyone involved in the coming hours.