Spirit of NI Award for Oliver?

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Coleraine school boy Oliver Dickey has been short listed for the ‘Overcoming Adversity Award’ at this years Spirit of Northern Ireland Awards.

The awards recognise those who are an inspiration to us, and those who selflessly serve others.

Back in March, Coleraine man Barry White, urged the people of the area to nominate Oliver for an award through his blog.

This week, we are delighted to announce that the Millburn Primary School pupil has been short listed for the ‘Overcoming Adversity Award’.

The glittering awards ceremony is the only one televised in Northern Ireland.

This year, X Factor judge Louis Walsh is on the judging panel, which has been sponsored by Sunday Life and Specsavers.

In the past ten months, the little Coleraine boy has shown great determination.

After an operation in America last July, Oliver has been under going intense physio sessions, and as mum Charlene explained his progress has surpassed what they could ever have dreamed of.

“We were told that Oliver would walk after a few months, but he was walking within a few weeks.

“At the minute he is able to walk on a tripod or with crutches, and he’s taking up to 40 steps on his own, we are really proud of him.”

Describing Oliver’s operation as ‘life changing’, Charlene said that their little boy is already a winner.

“We have to go to UTV on Thursday night to let them film Oliver and hear about his journey.

“We won’t find out anything until the night of the awards at the Culloden on June 12.

“Oliver doesn’t really understand what is going on, but we have told him that he is already a winner by getting this far,” said the proud mum.

Charlene added that the Dickey family have been contacted by five other families from Northern Ireland with children hoping to undergo the same US operation that Oliver had last summer.

“It’s good to be able to help and advise others that are going through the same struggle that we went through,” said Charlene.

“The surgery wasn’t available to Oliver through the NHS as he didn’t meet the criteria, so we were forced to go private, and that’s exactly what these other local families are going through.

“The good news is that three of them are now waiting back from the US medical team.”

Barry White, who started the campaign to recognise the local school boy, told The Times this week that he was ‘delighted’ that Oliver had been short listed.

“Oliver’s journey since the beginning of last year has become something of a fairytale. Like all magical stories, many people have taken great pleasure from it. Being short listed is another step in the direction of a very happy ending for Oliver and his family.”