Oliver’s Army on the march to raise funds

Oliver Shanks with mum Alexandra Quennell and dad Anthony Shanks.
Oliver Shanks with mum Alexandra Quennell and dad Anthony Shanks.

A special event will be raising money to help hospital-ward staff who have saved the life of a two-year-old boy on numerous occasions.

Described as a miracle child by his loving family, little Oliver Shanks has endured a tough battle since he was born.

The youngster, from North Broomhill, arrived into the world on June 14, 2014 – three-and-a-half months early and weighing just 1lb 14½ozs.

This tiny premature newborn was given a maximum 50 per cent chance of survival and had CPR to bring him back from the brink after suffering respiratory arrest.

Since that time, he has endured a number of major surgeries, having most of his small intestine removed, and has needed multiple blood and plasma transfusions.

Oliver has cerebral palsy, brain damage, lung disease and epilepsy and needs daily medication.

He is tube-fed and wheelchair-dependent, unable to ever walk, talk or see properly.

To give something back to the professionals who have helped him, his loved ones have organised an event to raise money for the paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) at Newcastle’s RVI hospital.

The Oliver’s Army Fund-raising Day takes place at Druridge Bay Community Centre, Hadston, on Saturday, February 25, from 10am to 2pm.

There will be a raffle, tombola, refreshments, Oliver’s Army pens for sale and a number square (£50 winning prize), among other things.

His mum Alexandra Quennell said: “Last year we nearly lost Oliver when he suddenly became very poorly and his lung collapsed. This put Oliver on a ventilator and in hospital for the majority of a two-month period.

“A lot of this time was spent in the PICU, so we would massively appreciate people’s support in trying to raise some money for this ward that saved Oliver’s life.

“In fact, the PICU has saved Oliver’s life a number of times now.”

Last year, brave Oliver was one of three plucky youngsters to win the Matthew Phillips Child of Courage prize at the Best of Northumberland Awards.

For updates about the fund-raising event, visit the Oliver’s Army Facebook page.