Get involved! Send photos, video, news & views. Text WILTS GAZETTE to 80360 or email us
Calne mum's appeal to help improve son's life
Jane Gibbs has been raising money for good causes for years.
But now the Calne mum needs cash a little closer to home, after her son Ollie was diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder.
The family had battled for 15 years for a diagnosis for Ollie, who has had several disabilities since birth.
Earlier this year he was diagnosed with Rasmussen’s encephalitis, a rare degenerative disorder which affects motor skills and causes severe seizures.
Mrs Gibbs said: “He was very poorly in December last year and we received the diagnosis from Bristol Children’s Hospital.
“We had given up hope. We tried so many hospitals and no-one knew what it was.”
The diagnosis means he will have to undergo brain surgery later this year, which will help with the seizures.
But his mobility is already decreasing rapidly and there is no guarantee he will even retain what he still has after the surgery.
Ollie, a pupil at St Nicholas School, Chippenham, is facing three months of rehabilitation in hospital and a further two years at home.
And Mrs Gibbs needs sections of her home, in Cornflower Close, adapted to accommodate his needs.
She said: “Ollie receives hydrotherapy twice a week at school. My father bought a hot tub so he can continue his exercises at home.
“Unfortunately, due to his illness, we can’t get him in and out of the tub safely so it’s not being used.”
After looking into various options, including a hoist, Mrs Gibbs has enlisted a local builder.
He has agreed to build a fully equipped room, with a sunken hot tub, for a fraction of the usual price. Now Mrs Gibbs, who ran the London Marathon in 2011 for disability charity HCPT, needs to raise £4,500 for the project.
She said: “Some people may feel this is not a necessity, but I can assure them Oliver has very little enjoyment in life and the hydrotherapy not only brings him a lot of joy but is necessary physiotherapy.
“He is unaware that he is even having his exercises.
“The hydrotherapy will be a massive part of his rehabilitation after surgery and for his future as well.
“We hope he does remember how much he loves being in the water.”
Mrs Gibbs is holding a fundraising event on August 3 at 7.30pm at Woodlands Social Club, where there will be music and a raffle with prizes donated by local businesses. Tickets cost £5. Call Mrs Gibbs on 07795 522960 for further details.