Sons and Daughters Month – featuring Oliver Ross
As part of the Sons and Daughters month I want to talk about an extraordinary young man called Oliver Ross (Oli) who is 15 years old. Oli is the son of our wonderful foster carers, Claire and Kevin Ross Duffield. He has four siblings and two foster brothers.
So let me tell you about Oli!
Oli has been a fantastic role model to his two younger foster brothers, who in the time they have been with the family have made incredible leaps forward in all aspects of their social behaviour as well as their educational achievement. We know that the unwavering care that the boys receive from Claire and Kevin is second to none; but we also know that Oli has played an important role as well. He has shown them how to be kind and gentle, humble and positive and always respectful of others. The boys really look up to Oli and we have many examples of them literally modelling themselves on him, seeking him out to ask what he thinks and taking on his guidance.
Oli is a bright boy who has always done well at school and always had big ambitions for his life and his career, and he has encouraged his foster brothers to also reach for the stars.
But in the middle of July of this year, the family had some devastating news as Oli was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. This was the start of a long and painful journey to come for the family. Claire and Kevin, along with Oli’s siblings were numb, then devasted, then scared. But Oli stood strong and re-assured his family. He said ‘Lets just take each day as it comes – we need to make the most of the lives we have’. Oliendured test after test, and then towards the end of the summer he commenced chemotherapy and radiotherapy five days a week, suffering sickness and overwhelming tiredness. But still Oli stayed positive, reassuring his family that he was ok and that they would be ok too. He carried on supporting and mentoring his foster brothers, who through his selfless care, learnt themselves how to be empathic towards others.
The family set up a Facebook page called Oli’s fight against Jerry (which is what he calls the brain tumour). The family wanted to capture the journey of their brave boy and Oli wanted to inspire others to be brave as well.
Claire and Kevin researched tirelessly to find out what treatments are out there for this rare and brutal illness. They finally found the hope they were looking for in theform of a trial treatment in Germany which has already had amazing success. They set up a fund raising page and have managed to get the first £10,000 they need for the diagnostic and treatment plan. But they need to raise another £45,000 to be able to start the arduous treatment in Germany, and they have to raise it quickly following the diagnostic and treatment plan being put in place.
So this is me appealing to you to help. Please can you go to the fundraiser and donate – this incredible young man needs our help, all of us, and he needs it fast. If his story makes you cry as it has all of us who know this special family, remember that your tears won’t help Oli, but your donations really will.
And one last thing, look at the Facebook page and take inspiration from it as I have, and feel ashamed, as I have, about the petty gripes and grievances we indulge in every day, about things, that in the grand scheme of life, don’t actually really matter.
Author Fiona Hutchinson, Registered Manager – South East
Fund raiser link:
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