Georgina and Wayne Olsen met on 3 July 2001 at Wayne’s twenty first Birthday. Since that day they have been inseparable. They married on 7 May 2005. Despite trying for a baby pretty much straight away, nothing happened and they found themselves relying on medical intervention to start a family.
On 10 November 2008 Georgina conceived using IVF treatment, and on 13 August 2009 Connor was born. After further IVF treatment, Georgina and Wayne’s second son Kye was born on 8 February 2013. They were delighted that their little family was now complete.
Little Connor Olsen grew into an adorable, kind, gentle and active lad who loves cars. He is earnest and chatty with twinkly blue eyes.
At the end of 2012, staff at Connor’s nursery, Piggybank in Westgate, mentioned to Georgina that Connor was having a lot of trouble climbing stairs. She and Wayne initially thought he was just a little slow developing but an initial check with a Health Visitor led to referrals to a Physiotherapist and Paediatrician. On 29 March 2013, a blood test revealed Connor had Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), a rarer version of more widely known Muscular Dystrophy.
Thoughts then turned to Kye who had a 50/50 chance of having DMD if it was genetic. Fortunately tests have shown he is clear.
Connor has no idea about the rare muscle wasting disease that is attacking his body (and for now his parents would like to keep it that way). He has a tendency to fall down rather too often, tires easily and finds stairs a challenge. The terrible statistical prognosis is that he will be in a power wheelchair, fulltime by the age of 10 and no longer be with us by age 20.
His out-of-the-blue diagnosis has been extraordinarily devastating for his parents, even more so because both Connor and little brother Kye, were the long-awaited arrivals following challenging IVF treatment.
At first it was a case of grieving, trying to get their heads around it. The dreams and visions of Connor’s life had been taken away. We all needed to do something positive and as a family came up with the Caring for Connor Campaign. On 5 April 2013, Caring for Connor Campaign was launched on Facebook. Almost every day the Campaign gains new supporters who have joined forces with the family to raise awareness of, and ultimately find a cure for DMD. The goal is to give Connor the best possible chance, through a fighting fund, for the latest treatment.
There have been remarkable successes in America for other young boys affected, using trials of advanced and costly, cutting-edge treatment not available here. When and if this could be used for Connor is uncertain and would possibly mean travelling to the States. The family and all his supporters are committed to ensuring that when the time is right for Connor to try such treatment, the money will be there to pay for it. Steroids, with their own unpleasant side effects, are the only possible treatment available for Connor here in the uk.
Georgina and Wayne have specially requested that anyone who is connected with or meets Connor should avoid making him aware of his illness. They want to talk to him when they feel the time is right. In the meantime fundraising efforts have included a ‘Connor Walk’, Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, a Strongman Competition, ‘Colours for Connor Day’ Sponsored Bean Bath, Quiz Nights and Football Fun Day to name but a few.
The Caring for Connor Campaign will need to be a long term project. So the family will always need new supporters and fundraising ideas. This is why they are always delighted when new people contact them ‘out of the blue’ with words of kindness, suggestions, donations, requests for sponsorship forms (because they are participating in a challenging activity) or to let them know of their plans to host a fundraising event in aid of Connor.
Since launching the Caring for Connor Campaign, the family have devised a fundraiser’s pack which can include stickers, balloons, information leaflets, sponsorship forms, T shirts, wristbands and certificates. Anyone organising an activity or event should ask how the Campaign might support them too.
Connors parents are often overwhelmed by the levels of help given to them. Many businesses have pledged long term commitment to the Campaign and time-and-time again donate their time, services and goods, which accompany their kindness and support. It is true to say that without the joint efforts of everyone involved, Georgina and Wayne would not be as inspired to hope as much as they can now. So for this, they are eternally grateful to everyone.