Thursday, 19 March 2015

Help Wee Oliver WIN

The list of "good things" achieved by this blog are limited to say the least.

But something I am proud of is having had the opportunity to bring the plight faced by Wee Oliver Dickey to many people's attention.

And most of the words which appeared in that post published on 2 January 2014 weren't even mine.

Instead, they were the words of Charlene, Oliver's mum, who told his very harrowing tale.

Confined to a wheelchair with a form of celebral palsy and told by doctors he'd have to stay there, Charlene and hubby Neil decided to act.  They were aware of specialist surgery available in the United States which, with a bit of good fortune, might give 5-year-old Oliver the gift of limited movement.  The ability to take himself to the toilet or pick up a toy, that's all that was expected.  But something was better than nothing, so it was worth a try.

The major stumbling block was the £60,000 price tag which came with the procedure.

Cue the people of Coleraine and far beyond, who put their hands in their pockets in kindly donations or to sponsor good folk to do often mad things for a peerless cause.  

I would suggest that this video, put together by Neil Moore, didn't do any harm.

Gets me every time.

The fundraising target was hit within two months and was eventually achieved twice over, enabling Oliver to access the aftercare which is so essential for him to reach his ultimate physical potential.

But here's the thing.  Whilst Dr Park - the genius who operated on Oliver - worked his magic to perfection, it was left to Oliver, supported by his family, to do the really hard work.

He'd not used his legs before, so what lay ahead was a physio and fitness regime that even Rocky Balboa would've baulked at.

And has it all been worth it?

Well, click onto this link to see for yourself.

Just as I required Charlene's words to describe her son's predicament more than 15 months ago, the determination, grit and belief that he now demonstrates day after day is also far beyond my descriptive abilities.

Oliver has long since made the journey to becoming an inspiration, but I would argue that we should make it official.

This brings me neatly on to the Spirit of Northern Ireland Awards, for which public nominations have now opened.

There are three categories: recognising unsung heroes, those who have overcome adversity, and special achievements by young people.  And at the end of the evening, someone will be named the overall Spirit of Northern Ireland winner.

The nomination process is very straightforward and involves putting together 50-100 words on why you believe someone is worthy of recognition.

My nomination is already in and it is for Oliver Dickey.

Should you wish to do the same, you can click here and follow the simple instructions.

Let's help Wee Oliver WIN.