When Oliver Chapman contacted meningitis as a baby, his parents were told he might not survive the night.
A decade on, amazing Oliver’s gearing up for a nocturnal trek through London – his fourth epic charity mission to help causes close to his heart.
This Saturday Oliver, 10, and mum Tracey are planning to take on the 15km London night walk to raise funds for the National Autistic Society.
Diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum at age five, the Little Thetford Primary School pupil has never let adversity get in his way.
When he was only six months old, in October 2007, Oliver was rushed to hospital with bacterial meningitis, a potentially fatal infection of the protective membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord.
Tracey said: “We were initially informed he may not survive the night in intensive care. Despite this he pulled through.”
A fighter through and through, Oliver refuses to let his autism stop him from taking part in charity events – even if his condition means he sometimes gets stressed by loud noises and crowds.
It means the family have to be flexible and plan ahead, Tracey said: “At our last run in Milton Keynes, Oliver refused to join the crowds of people at the start but then once the crowds had thinned out, he was ready to join the run so we have to be patient, often think on our feet and make adjustments that work.
“We just focus on the positives and cherish what Oliver can do.”
Oliver’s strong sense of justice means he will always challenge anything he perceives to be unfair – which can land him in trouble, especially as he appears like any other 10 year old on the surface, Tracey said.
“Taking part in charitable events has encouraged Oliver to consider others.”
The family decided to take up fundraising in 2014 to give something back to the charities that had supported them.
The first year, they raised over £700 for the Meningitis Research Foundation. In 2015 and 2016 they raised about £1200 for Little Miracles, which supports families in Ely, Cambridge and Newmarket, taking part in the Great Fun Run in Milton Keynes.
And despite forecasts of snow this weekend, they’re determined to complete the 15km London night walk this Saturday, March 17.
“So far, we have raised nearly £800 for the National Autistic Society, taking Oliver’s grand total of fundraising to over £2600 for charity.”
Keen fans of Spotted in Ely Rocks, Tracey and Oliver will be dropping autism awareness pebbles that they’ve decorated along their route.
You can sponsor Oliver or make a donation to the National Autistic Society by clicking here.