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Brave Oliver battles rare condition - family launches campaign

By This is Gloucestershire  |  Posted: October 04, 2010

  • COURAGEOUS: Five-year-old Oliver Sherwood.

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ON the outside Oliver Sherwood looks like any other five-year-old.

But this brave little boy is actually suffering from a rare life-threatening condition.

Three years on from being diagnosed with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), Oliver's family is launching a fundraising drive in his honour.

His mum Sarah said each day Oliver had to endure at least eight tablets, regular courses of steroids, oxygen and three-monthly hospital check ups just to keep well.

Sarah, 37, of Deer Park Road, Hucclecote, said: "The condition is quite rare and not many people know about it. When Oliver first became ill, the doctors kept saying he had asthma but I knew there was something worse.

"Then about three years ago he was really poorly and ended up at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London where they diagnosed him with PAH.

"He is often tired and doesn't get enough oxygen and it can really knock him for six."

Pulmonary arterial hypertension is a progressive disease, characterised by abnormally high blood pressure in the vessels which supply the lungs.

PAH is a rare and incurable condition that often lies undetected until it reaches the most severe stages.

It is believed to affect 30-50 people per million.

Sarah, said: "PHA-UK said that he could have died within two years if it hadn't been diagnosed. But Oliver has reached a great milestone and it is three years since he was diagnosed.

"If you look at him or you are around him you would never think he was so seriously ill. People can't comprehend it and I think that is a big problem, but when he is poorly he is scarily poorly.

"He just takes it all in his stride and he is my little champ. We just got on with it and take every day as a gift."

Sarah, her husband Howard, 45 and son William, seven, now want to help raise awareness and funds for the condition.

Sarah added: "We have to travel to London to get check-ups and it is a long way to go every few months. Because it is so rare there is not enough services for it and it is often misdiagnosed.

"Oliver is stable at the moment and we want to raise awareness of PH and raise some money for them and the Acorns Children's Hospice in Worcester where Oliver goes for respite. They are a great support to us and we want to give something back."

The Sherwood family are holding a charity music night on December 3. There will be a range of music and dancing at Witcombe Village Hall from 7.30pm. A band is still needed to perform on the night.

To offer your services, or to buy a ticket call Sarah on 07847 739888 or email topsey2009@live.co.uk

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