CLASSMATES of a five-year-old boy are doing a sponsored walk across the Forth Road bridge – so he can join them next time.
Friends of Ollie Porter, who has hydrocephalus and epilepsy, want to raise funds to buy him an “Upsee” so he can walk in a harness with an adult.
The twin, who goes to Windygoul Primary School in Tranent, had a brain haemorrhage around the time when he was born which damaged the part which controls growth and development.
He was placed on a ventilator within hours of birth and had the first of several shunts fitted when he was two weeks old to clear a blockage which was stopping fluid that would normally flow down his spine.
Fellow P1 pupil Orla Grant had seen Ollie’s grandad – Hibs legend Pat Stanton – use his recent 70th birthday to raise money for the Child Brain Injury Trust with a series of events at last month’s match against Cowdenbeath. She wanted to do something to help, so asked Ollie’s mum Kirsty, 44, what she could do.
The mum of five said: “Orla saw my dad’s fundraising on Facebook and decided she was going to do the ice-bucket challenge for the brain injury trust. Then her mum contacted me and said ‘is there anything Ollie would really need that we could fundraise for?’.”
“I had been looking at the Upsee and checked with his physio he would be suitable for it. Where we live there are loads of lovely beaches we can go for walks on. It is very difficult to do that for Oliver as he can only be in a buggy or a walking frame, which won’t go along the sand. He has to be pushed along a path while his brothers are all down having fun. The Upsee will mean we can walk right to the sea with him and he can get involved in family life. He’s really determined, has a really strong character and just a friendly and bubbly little boy.”
Orla’s family are holding a coffee morning next month with baking for sale, a raffle and competitions. The following weekend, weather permitting, a group will walk across the bridge to raise money for the charity. Kirsty, who works at the Royal Bank of Scotland, said: “Orla’s such a lovely wee thing and I had worried about putting Oliver into mainstream school and how other children receive but I shouldn’t have worried. He was accepted straight away, it has been great. He’s really determined, has a really strong character and just a bubbly little boy.”
Orla’s mum, also called Kirsty, said her daughter had a “soft spot” for Ollie since they started nursery together and were lucky to be put in the same class.
“There’s been a great response in terms of people saying they want to do the walk with her, which is good because I’m too scared to do it. She’s buzzing with excitement but nervous at the same time.”