Appeal more than halfway to helping little Ollie walk

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Ollie Baker is looking forward to a busy Christmas as the funds keep coming in Ollie Baker is looking forward to a busy Christmas as the funds keep coming in

Christmas is looking bright for two-year-old Ollie Baker as his family has collected more than half the money needed for an operation to help him walk in less than a year.

Ollie, from Lyneham, has spastic diplegia, a form of cerebral palsy that means the muscles in his legs are always tight and he needs a walker to get about.

He needs £24,300 for an operation unavailable on the NHS and in August his parents Carol and Stephen Baker launched a fundraising campaign in style, when Mrs Baker conquered her fears to undertake a sponsored parachute jump.

Since then, well-wishers have donated nearly £14,000 and organised events from coffee mornings to band nights, and a head shave and leg wax.

Mrs Baker, 39, a logistical co-ordinator at RAF Brize Norton, said the amount of support had been overwhelming and had helped her to overcome a brief period of depression.

She said: “I got put in hospital for a bit and when I came out I decided to do something. I think before I was trying to cope with it myself, now it’s out and about and people are helping. It’s made a huge difference.

“I don’t think you realise how many people are out there that will offer to help, but a lot of people who know Ollie have been really good. I think definitely we will have the money by next Christmas.”

The surgery, which needs to be performed when Ollie is four, would take place privately at Frenchay Hospital, near Bristol, and would be followed by a period of intensive physiotherapy.

In the meantime Ollie has been enjoying the run-up to Christmas, starring as a sheep in Hilmarton Pre-school’s nativity performance and ice-skating at Whitehall Garden Centre.

He enjoyed a visit to Santa at Whitehall with his six-year-old brother Josh on Christmas Eve, as well as dinner at Bowood on the big day itself with family including his gran Avril Ogden.

Mrs Baker said: “Last year he was probably a bit too young still, but I think he will have a nice surprise on Christmas day because he has a child-sized Jupiter fire engine that has been brought for him by my mum.

“We don’t know what the future will bring as they have told me he will never walk like Joshua, but we want to give him the best chance we can.”

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