Joan Collins and Lord Alan Sugar are the latest celebrities to support Coleraine school boy Oliver Dickey.
The pair added their names to the ever-growing list of big name stars to Tweet in support of the five-year-old Millburn Primary School pupil who needs £60,000 to have a life-changing operation to enable him to walk.
Little Oliver has a type of cerebral palsy called spastic diplegia, which means that his legs are very tight and he can be in a lot of pain at times.
Despite being turned down for surgery through the NHS, Oliver’s parents, Charlene and Neill decided that they would do all they could to enable their little boy to have independence.
“The surgery we have looked at is called Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR), in simple terms they will cut the dead nerve endings away from the spine and this allows the ones which do work to perform properly.
“We heard about a hospital in America who perform the operation, so we sent all his medical information off to them.
“And just before Christmas we received an email from Dr Park from the St. Louis Children’s Hospital to say he thinks Oliver is an excellent candidate for the surgery. He expects that after surgery Oliver will walk independently at least in a protected environment,” told Charlene.
Since hitting the local and national media last week, already over £7,000 has been raised.
Speaking to The Times on Friday, after a fundraiser in the Danske Bank in Coleraine, Charlene said: “We can’t believe how this has taken off. There’s already over £7,000 raised in the space of a week.
“We are just totally overwhelmed.”
Little Oliver is enjoying being in the limelight too: “All his little friends at school have been commenting about seeing him in the paper and on the tv, but he’s taking it all in his stride.
“He just wants to know if he will get a toy after his operation in America, as he gets a treat after being in hospital here!”
Charlene went on: “There are lots of fundraisers coming up, a Cupcake Day at Millburn School, coffee mornings, football tournaments and quiz nights, we just can’t believe how much the community are getting behind our wee Oliver.”