Oliver’s story

Six-year-old Oliver is a cheerful little chatterbox.

He always got a smile on his face even when he’s not well. And he loves dinosaurs.

Just weeks old, Oliver was diagnosed with stage five chronic kidney disease, a life threatening condition that meant his kidneys were close to failure and he would need a transplant. He was put on dialysis at five months old.

At Acorns, we are here to support Oliver and his family with respite stays, enabling his parents to take a much-needed break from providing non-stop care. Oliver’s dad John explains:

“We found out at our 20-week scan there was going to be some issues with Oliver’s kidneys. But we didn’t know the extent of the damage until he was born. He was diagnosed with stage five chronic kidney disease in his first weeks of life, which is the worst stage. Even though we knew there would be some challenges, it was a real shock to the system. We were living day by day.

“Oliver’s mum received a recommendation about Acorns. We never knew there were places like that available that could give parents a bit of respite. We were so glad Oliver met the criteria. We were so overwhelmed. We were back and forth in hospital for treatment and trying to keep on top of his medicines and care, it was constant.

“So to have that break and help was huge. When you’re caring for somebody else, sometimes you don’t look after yourself. It was nice to recharge and stop the world from spinning for a little bit and get back in control.”

Oliver making a cute face while holding a ball and sitting on the floor.

“There aren’t many people who can look after Oliver. It was hard for us to step back too and let somebody take the reins. We’d been doing it from day dot. But we knew the nurses at Acorns were fully trained professionals that could care for him and give us the break we really needed.”

Oliver smiling at the camera while sitting on the floor at an Acorns hospice

Two years ago, at four years old, Oliver received a life saving kidney transplant. Luckily, his dad John was a perfect match.

“There was never any question for me, if I could have, I would have given him both of them. He’s been to hell and back, but he’s come on leaps and bounds.”

As Oliver’s health continues to stabilise, he’ll no longer need Acorns. But his family remain forever grateful for the care and support they received when they needed it most.

“He is no longer life threatened so won’t need Acorns support in the near future, which is wonderful because he’s doing really well. But we will miss coming to Acorns because it is such a brilliant place.

“We’re so thankful Acorns exists. I don’t know where we would have been without it. Acorns was there when we really needed it. It’s an absolute a godsend.”

Help support us

Hundreds of local babies, children and young people rely on Acorns Children’s Hospice for specialist 24-hour care and support. In turn, Acorns relies on people like you to fund the majority of our services. Your support with any charitable donation you can make is vital in helping us to continue the work that we do.

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For more information or for interview, photograph or filming opportunities, contact the PR and Communications team at news@acorns.org.uk.

Notes to editors:

Due to the sensitive nature of Acorns care services it refrains from using the words ‘terminal’ or ‘terminally ill’ in its press releases and public communications when describing the children who use Acorns and the conditions that they have. Instead, Acorns uses the words ‘life limited’, ‘life limiting’, or ‘life threatening’. Acorns kindly requests that you respect this in your communications when referring to Acorns Children’s Hospice. Acorns children have a lot of living to do. Thank you.