July 25, 2014

A story and a plea to help Oliver walk (Sticky Post)


This is a story about a little boy called Oliver.  I’d appreciate it if you read this even if you read nothing else on this site ever again.

Here is my friend Danielle…

I first met Danielle about eight years ago when she began working at the same place that I worked in.  We instantly hit it off.  She was so funny that she made me laugh until tears ran down my leg.


She used to do things like challenge the boss to sit-up competitions.

She was funny.

I mean fun.

Danielle grew up with three sisters and a brother.  Her mum put up with a lot of mischief from Danielle and her siblings.  Her dad was in the army serving his (our) country.

Danielle was married to Barry.  They met when they were at school.  They fell in love and then they got married.


Here is Barry…


As you can tell from my fabulous drawings (even though I do say so myself), Barry is a soldier too.  He, like all our other servicemen, regularly has to leave his family to serve Queen and country.  Thank you Barry and chums for putting your lives on the line for us.  I hope your pals aren’t too jealous of your picture.

Anyway, a few years ago after always having sworn blind that she’d never have children Danielle text me to say that she was pregnant.  She was very happy and told me we should be pregnancy buddies and that I should be pregnant too.  I told her not to be so silly as I had just had Eddie who was only three months old.  A few days later I found out that I was indeed pregnant.  We were due a few days apart.  I was lucky enough to go to her first scan with her and she with me.  We were happy.

(Danielle is pregnant in the picture above. She just had a neat, tidy, gorgeous little bump.  Don’t let that put you off her though.  (Grrr!))

Later that year I had Sid and a couple of weeks later Danielle and Barry became parents for the first time to Josh…

Isn’t he handsome?

A couple of years later, when I was pregnant with Oliver, Danielle and Barry were expecting again.

Meet their second child, Oliver…

Isn’t he the most beautiful baby you’ve ever seen?

Oliver was born six weeks early with club foot and severe Hypoxia.  This is the term used when a region of the body has been deprived of adequate oxygen supply.   In Oliver’s case this affected a part of his brain which had caused him to have a stroke has consequently led to a condition called Cerebral Palsy.

The following was written by Danielle and tells of how she felt on learning of Oliver’s condition:

Cerebral Palsy is a name in which they use describe a group of non-progressive, non contagious motor conditions that cause physical disability in human development, In our case both Oliver’s legs have been affected.

I remember the day when we were informed of Oliver’s condition. We had an appointment with the neurologist in Calgary (we lived in Canada at the time), my parents had come over for a holiday so they had come to the appointment with us. We had the appointment as Oliver had an MRI scan a few months prior to this appointment so we were there finding the results. We must have been in this very small cramped office for a total of 2 hrs, during this time the neurologist was gathering background information on Oliver and his birth but at the same time carrying out numerous small tests on Oliver (I guess this was to back up her findings on the MRI scan). About 1hr into the appointment she went on to tell us that he had suffered a stroke during his delivery and the outcome of both the stroke and the Hypoxia was Cerebral Palsy.  The feeling that went through my body after hearing this news is indescribable and I only wish I never have to experience that feeling ever again.

Yesterday Danielle and Barry received some amazing news and with it came a plea to all their friends for help:

The McConnell’s have just received some fantastic news, our son Oliver; aged 2 years and 7 months has been accepted for life changing surgery called selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR).

Some of you may or may not be aware that at the age of 10 months Oliver was diagnosed with Spastic Quadriplegia Cerebral Palsy, which has made it very difficult for Oliver to complete certain milestones in his life such as sitting, standing and walking. SDR will change this for Oliver and will enable him to walk, sit and stand.
For Oliver to have this life changing surgery it is going to cost approx 72,000 pound, which as you may all agree is an exceptional amount of money to raise within 6 months.

We are asking you all, as friends to help with this mammoth fundraising in anyway possible. If you can spare some time to organise an event of any size, we can honestly say that any amount of donation will be greatly appreciated in the quest to help Oliver walk.

We are currently in the process of having a web page built which should be completed very soon; on the website there will be links to sponsor forms, SDR surgery in detail, fundraising ideas and ways to donate via the website. We will also be uploading videos, pictures and a diary of Oliver’s journey pre and post op. You will all also be asked to join our facebook page and please feel free to send requests to other friends.

To note: Oliver’s website will be WWW.HELPOLIVERWALK.CO.UK

E-Mail: helpoliverwalk@yahoo.co.uk

Any questions/idea/help then please feel free to contact either one of us via Facebook or the e-mail address above.

Many Thanks
Barry, Danielle, Joshua and Oliver McConnell

The time is always right to do what is right.”
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

I am not sure how payments can be made directly just yet as the Help Oliver Walk website is still to go live but you can make your donation right now via Paypal through helpoliverwalk@largerfamilylife.com.  


You can now make donations directly to Barry and Danielle into Oliver’s own PayPal using the address:


Also, Tree of Hope have given permission for Help Oliver Walk to use their charity number in order to be able to set up a Just Giving account.  This means that  charities can reclaim an extra 25% in tax on every eligible donation by a UK taxpayer.  You can make your donation by clicking over to www.justgiving.com/helpoliverwalk.

Remember, you don’t need a Paypal account yourself in order to make a donation.  

If you would like to make a donation by post you can do so via our PO Box address:

Help Oliver Walk

c/o Larger Family Life

PO Box 645





Please make cheques payable to: Help Oliver Walk

Join the Help Oliver Walk Facebook Page and show your support.

Please Tweet this post, put it on your Facebook status, use any social network to spread the word to it – you can use the buttons at the bottom of this post to do it quickly and easily.  Please mention it on your blogs and websites and link back here for full details.  Please help me spread the word.

Barry and Danielle are fantastic parents with two beautiful, fantastic children but they have only 6 months to raise £72,000.  Please, please will you help?


Click here for details of the Help Oliver Walk Auction

This post will be stuck to the front page of this site until we hit our target.



  1. amy coulson says:

    lovely and funny story that made me cry. will do my best for little oliver :) x

  2. Jayne Jones says:

    Thinking of you Danielle, I’m defo up for donating as soon as I get home from work, Good luck x

  3. As a disabled person myself I have come to know a number of people with cerebal palsy, including one who had what seemed to be yearly operations through childhood to enable him to ‘walk’, albeit in his somewhat unusual, half sideways way. From what I can gather this included breaking and resetting almost every bone in his legs and feet over the years (I think there’s a secondary issue that contributed to this). Even now, the signals from his brain to his legs are sometimes so delayed that he has to be pushed over, or throw himself backwards, when approaching a road because his legs haven’t stopped walking at the curb.

    I don’t know the condition of Oliver of course, cerebal palsy is such an amazingly varied condition ranging in it’s effects from learning dificulties to slow and impeded movements to uncontrollable limbs and everything inbetween. It looks from the photos as if Olivers legs are properly formed, which of course makes sence if the cause was a stroke. The reason I repeat the story I have is just to give an example of the struggles some of these children go through over their lives, for something as simple as safely walking unassisted. People take for granted such simple things as walking, and the idea that everyone that cannot walk can automatically use a wheelchair independently.

    I’m not sure how much I can do here in Australia, but when the website is up I will see if I can organise something, I know of a few people, including the man spoken of above, who would love to help Oliver however we can.

  4. Tracy Nixon says:

    It brought tears to my eyes – you have my support xxx I have shared and tweeted to spread the love xxx

  5. Jono_Drew says:

    Baz, everyone at ABBA is behind this cause and will do everything to raise the money for Oliver and your family. We will get there mate!!! Excellent news about The go ahead for the op.

  6. Have you tried the various Forces Charities? It’s the kind of thing that they would support for a serving man’s child. And thankyou Barry, for serving, and thankyou Danielle for supporting his service.


  7. This has brought a tear to my eyes is just wonderful, Lets all group together and start the fight for Oliver he is an amazing young man with the strenght to make evryone pround of the targets he has made so far in his short life

    We as a group will be there to support this amazing Young Man xxx

  8. I truly hope and pray you meet the amount needed I have copied this to my facebook and will be sending some money soon xxx

  9. ann nicholl says:

    What beautiful little boys. Have been in touch with Grandma McConnell and left a donation for the fund. Hope you will be able to use the Ronald Mcdonald charity when you get to the states. They provide accomadation for families visting the states.

    Good luck and best wishes, Ann & Brian Nicholl. xx

  10. Hopeful they came up with the money. The boys are very cute


  1. [...] posting Oliver’s story on Wednesday so much has [...]

  2. [...] have an operation which is only available in the US.  We need to raise £72,000 for it.  You can read his story here and see details of the Help Oliver Walk charity auction our website ran for him too raising almost [...]

  3. [...] Readers who have been around for a while might remember the story of Oliver, the son of our friends Danielle and Barry McConnell, who was left unable to sit, stand or walk due to being starved of oxygen during birth.  I told Oliver’s story here. [...]

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