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Oliver

Oliver entered the world on August 16th, 2023. Though born with jaundice, the pediatrician dismissed concerns due to minimal levels. However, his mother, noticing no improvement, persisted to have Oliver tested three times. Even a specialist said it would pass, and recommended to stop breastfeeding and wait it out.


Oliver, otherwise, seemed perfectly healthy.


Daily visits to his mother's real estate office earned him the nickname "Boss Baby." He was always on the go, with days filled with office work, showing houses and attending community events.


Oliver was incredibly loved by everyone! He had the most beautiful blue eyes, and was often described as an "old soul." Everyone was instantly charmed by Oliver's smile, even though he was bashful and would often turn away or hide his face when he smiled.


Opie, his eight-year-old big brother, was initially not excited about having a baby brother. Yet, upon Oliver's arrival, Opie would quickly grow attached to him. They were always hand in hand. Whenever Oliver would hear his brother, he would look around the room to find him - and smile at all the silly faces Opie would make.


Oliver fit perfectly in his dad's arms, and they would often relax together at the end of the day while watching "The Office". He would be so content, just hanging out with Dad.


On November 13th, 2023, tragedy struck. Shortly after breastfeeding, Oliver aspirated on milk. Though his airway was cleared, something felt off to his mother. Unconvinced his breathing had returned to normal, she rushed him to the ER. Upon arrival, Oliver stopped breathing, requiring him to be rushed upstairs. His mother shares, “When I got up to the room, they had him breathing again, and I could hear him crying - there were many doctors and nurses working to figure out what was going on - I didn't know it then, but that would be the last time I would hear him cry.” His medical team put him on a ventilator shortly after, while tests were conducted. The plan was to air evacuate Oliver to Banner Desert in Mesa.


While waiting for Oliver to be transferred, the doctor brought an X-Ray that showed a 1-2 cm mass on the back of his brain, near the cerebellum and another that had shown calcification in his abdomen. He also had a mass in his left testicle. Though the doctor didn't provide too much information, he did confirm it was cancer, and said the neurologist at Banner Desert would be able to speak with me further.


Upon arrival at Banner Desert, doctors suspected a rare genetic cancer but required additional testing to confirm.


November 14th brought a team of oncologists and neurologists confirming the diagnosis: ATRT, with a survival rate of less than 1%. The next step was an MRI, but Oliver's dependence on the ventilator raised concerns about maintaining his oxygen levels during the procedure.


(The cause of Oliver's breathing difficulties remains unclear - a consequence of cancer or the earlier oxygen deprivation. Oliver’s mother shares her regret for driving him to the hospital, who questioned whether an ambulance ride might have altered the outcome.)


The MRI was scheduled for the next morning, and the family gathered to pray around Oliver.

“I could see the faces of the doctors and nurses who were caring for Oliver, and that is when I started to realize that we may not leave the hospital as a family of 4.”


The morning of the MRI, November 15th, the family remained hopeful. His mother whispered words of encouragement and strength. "All you have to do is breathe, just breathe baby - be strong, hang on. I'll be here when you get back."


30 minutes later, Oliver returned. They were unable to perform the MRI because he was not able to maintain oxygen levels.


This marked the turning point. Oliver's time on earth was coming to an end. The family held his hand, laid with him, and prayed over him. Later that evening, the alarms signaled it was time. Held by his mother, she tried to fight back her uncontrollable screams as Oliver passed away around 9:30 pm on November 15th, 2023.


Oliver's tumor was biopsied after he passed, and was donated for further research.


His time on earth was short, and though he did not have the opportunity to fight, we pray that he never felt pain. Oliver was loved beyond measure, and his passing and the grief that has followed is felt by his family and their community.



RUN FOR GOLD:  A Virtual Run in Oliver's memory ‍️

We stand with Oliver's family and friends as they champion ATRT research awareness and funding at this special event. We are deeply grateful to receive proceeds that will directly impact critical research efforts.

https://runsignup.com/Race/AZ/Florence/RUNFORGOLD


From August 16, 2024 to November 15, 2024, in remembrance of Oliver's time on earth, runners are encouraged to run three miles anytime...anywhere. 


Follow along on the Facebook page - Run for Gold

Oliver
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