This week marks the end of the first year of 52 Lives. So it seemed fitting to go back to where it all began - with the beautiful Ollier family.
In week 1 of 52 Lives, we helped a young girl called Claire Ollier. Claire had brain cancer and we arranged for her to see Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the theatre, gave her a beautiful party dress to wear and also sent her for a VIP Day at a theme park. Claire sadly passed away a few months later, at 9 years of age.
Claire's brother Liam is 15 years old. When he was just four, he asked for a baby sister... Claire arrived when he was 5. Claire adored Liam, and he her, but from an early age, she had the goods on him. She always knew how to push his buttons, and she loved doing it. Liam was really protective of Claire, and they were great mates. She was fearless, and he was just a little on the cautious side, so they made a great team.
When Claire fell ill, their mum and dad (Robert and Lynette) encouraged Liam to spend as much time with Claire as he could. They were aware of what an enormous burden that was for a 13 year old, but felt they had little choice but to tell him the truth.
Over the coming months, Liam was by Claire's side. He looked after her, gave way to her every request, played with her, watched tv with her, and reassured her. He willingly took a back seat during her illness.
It was Liam who was sitting behind Claire on a plane from Melbourne, when she suddenly lost consciousness. He stayed in place, assisting the doctor and nurse who were keeping her alive, and talking to Claire, reassuring her. Liam saw Claire being resuscitated in the emergency room, and less than 24 hours later, he was saying goodbye to his beautiful little sister as she lay in a hospital bed.
Liam did not attend school too often for the next few months and he lost a lot of weight. He was reluctant to grieve openly for fear of upsetting his mum and dad, who say they have been struggling to cope.
At Christmas, Liam went on a camp with CanTeen, a support organisation. There he met people like himself, who had lost siblings, or were in the process of losing them. The camp did something for Liam. He came back from it a different person, and he'd met a lovely girl called Caitlin, who's brother had passed away two months before Claire. Liam and Caitlin are now dating, and his parents are so grateful he has someone who can relate to what he's going through.
Liam has been through a lot and shown such immense bravery and selflessness for someone so young. 52 Lives would love to do something special for him.