Our 2015 Charity brings all our members together towards the benefit of a child close to our hearts, namely our club member Rob and Mel Ferguson’s son, Oliver. Oliver recently turned five years old this past December, and throughout his five years he has been battling with intense pains and regular visits to doctors and specialists at Sick Kids Hospital due to a series of complicated medical conditions.
Oliver was originally diagnosed with Autoimmune Hepatitis, a chronic (long lasting) disease in which the body’s immune system attacks the normal components, or cells, of the liver and causes inflammation and liver damage. Autoimmune Hepatitis is a serious condition that can worsen over time and can lead to cirrhosis and complete liver failure. To make things worse, since October of 2014 four different specialists have consistently uncovered more issues with Oliver’s health. Oliver is also battling two kidney stones in his left kidney, he has a deficiency of Immunoglobulin G which shuts down the immune system, and it was recently discovered that he has a high level of parathyroid hormones. Overall his symptoms and diagnosis keeps changing towards a more complicated and lengthy route for recovery.
On October 9th 2014, Rob and Mel woke up to find Oliver had turned yellow in his complexion, and was rushed to their family doctor. On October 11th 2014, Oliver met with a G.I Specialist at Sick Kids Hospital, and was immediately admitted to the hospital in ward 6A for constant care and observation. Over the duration of the next eighteen days Oliver’s health decreased dramatically, until he was stabilized with the use of a high quantity of prednisone. Unfortunately prednisone is a strong steroid medication which can also halt the immune system. While the medication helped to stabilize Oliver’s initial problems, the use of prednisone also caused secondary problems for Oliver that he has had to battle on a daily basis.
During the time Oliver was at Sick Kids hospital, he was dearly missed at home by his little sister Scarlett, who will be turning 2 years old in April. While she didn’t understand where her big brother was all this time, she did walk around the house wearing his shirts, and sitting on his bed repeating his name “Oyi Oyi”. The two siblings love each other dearly, and Scarlett just as much as Rob and Mel was hoping that Oliver could return home soon.
In September of 2014 Rob was laid off from the contracting company he was working for, and as a result attended to Oliver day and night. Sick Kids hospital’s staff during their stay ensured that Rob and his family were aware of the services and aid for families staying at Sick Kids over a long period of time. The staff, volunteers, and programs made available were a huge help for the Ferguson family during this difficult time in their lives.
Oliver is now at home, and continues to take regular large doses of prednisone to try and stabilize his condition. This treatment will remain ongoing of the next several months. The steroids have caused Oliver to be bloated and uncomfortable, with debilitating back pains and stomach aches which last 3-4 days and prevents him from doing regular activities such as going to school, or playing with other kids on a regular basis. This has also been taxing on Mel’s business. Mel runs her own dog-grooming company which is operating at about 50% revenue since Oliver’s illness as she finds herself constantly having to close the store and get Oliver when he is not feeling well from school, while Rob is looking for a new job, and taking care of Scarlett.
Through all his pains, Oliver remains a will spirited young boy who wants to interact with people and has a strong passion for cars, specifically NASCAR and BMW’s. The majority of his toys are cars, and he loves to drive his Batman GoKart and attend car events whenever possible. Oliver has been fortunate enough to meet several NASCAR and BMW racers such as Bill Auberlen, Andy Priaulx, John Edwards, Ron Fellows, TJ Bell, and Jennifer Jo Cobb to name a few. Recently Oliver was invited to meet all the Hendrick drivers, Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne on their next visit to NC. During TrueNorthEG’s Christmas Toy Drive to collect toys for those less fortunate, Oliver joined us in donating new toys to the Toy Drive, and accompanied us to BMW of Mississauga where we presented all the gifts to the dealership that would then send them to the shelter. It was heartwarming to see a child with his own pains and discomforts readily wanting to help other children in need.
Oliver is aware of our Charity Drive on his behalf, and he is excited to attend all the events we have planned this season. Needless to say, our Charity Drive for the 2015 season is worthwhile and we look forward to presenting Ward 6A of Sick Kids Hospital a cheque at the Season End Show&Shine in September of 2015 that will go towards research for children suffering just like Oliver, and towards supporting staff and accommodations for parents in need while at Sick Kids. We hope to see you at our monthly events during the 2015 season!