Ollie Duell, 13, lives with a complex medical condition that affects his bowel and stomach. In October 2010 he underwent a transplant of those vital organs, but it was ultimately unsuccessful as Ollie’s body rejected the new tissues in 2014.
It means Ollie needs to be attached to several tubes to help with breathing, feeding and more. He is also attached to a pump 22 hours a day and requires 36 medicines four times a day plus four lots of intravenous drugs.
In addition, Ollie also has an underactive thyroid, juvenile arthritis and sleep apnoea. He can walk short distances, but often needs an electric wheelchair.
These impediments mean Ollie can only attend his North Cambridge Academy four times a week for three hours at a time. He also has two two-hour homeschool sessions a week.
Ollie’s family have been on a journey full of ups and downs, but one constant source of positivity and support has been EACH. Ollie first visited our Milton hospice aged just three. He now benefits from two or three day-long care sessions each month and also enjoys hydrotherapy to alleviate pain in his joints.
Carer and sibling groups at the hospice mean Ollie’s parents, Claire and Gavin, and his sister, Georgina, 20, are also supported. The family live in Cambridge and Claire explains just how much their local hospice means to them.
"Knowing Ollie is being looked after by the amazing team at EACH means we can have some time off and not worry, which is the most brilliant feeling ever! We also really enjoy meeting other families and being able to talk through what life is like for us all.
"EACH enables us to be a family, providing care and support for us as a whole. Having a safe place for Ollie to be cared for is the most valuable gift we could ever have been given. Ollie loves spending time at the hospice and the minute he gets there he is kicking off his shoes, getting a duvet and snuggling down on the sofa, with everyone running around seeing to his every need! As he says: ‘It's bliss!’
"Without EACH I really don't believe we would have made it this far together as a family. They make a really hard time just that little easier to deal with."
Ollie got to meet EACH’s Royal Patron, HRH The Duchess of Cambridge, in 2017 at the opening of popular Broadway show 42nd Street, in London, presenting her with a programme for the evening.
That came soon after a festive period in which Ollie had shown his own musical credentials at an EACH Christmas party. Although naturally shy, he decided to stand up and sing for guests, prompting tears from his family and members of the EACH care team who have been with them through their journey.