Photo of Ollie


Meet Ollie. He’s your average Kiwi bloke – he’s into CrossFit, martial arts and playing golf. Like many of us, Ollie had a pretty typical childhood – that is until a fateful day in 2004 when the school nurse sent him home with what seemed like a run-of-the-mill jaw ache.

It was on the walk to the car with his mum that things took a sudden turn for the worse. “I can’t remember what happened exactly, but I’m told that I was complaining about the pain when I suddenly collapsed. I was struggling to breathe and began to turn blue.”

A pair of ambulances sped Ollie to Starship, where he was diagnosed with having very low blood pressure, and an incredibly low pulse rate. The team at Starship quickly confirmed Ollie was suffering from a tear on his aorta and rushed him into life-saving surgery. “It was 3 days later that I finally woke up, with my family surrounding me. I spent a further 2-3 weeks recovering in the heart ward before I was able to be discharged.”

Ollie’s parents credit Starship hospital staff for their son’s survival: “It took a group of two ambulance teams, numerous surgeons, specialists, registrars, nurses, physios and even the play specialist and teachers to look after him,” his mum recalls.

“I was witness to an entire amazing, professional and caring team coming together to save his life and give him the aftercare he needed. They were very clear about what to expect at all times and kept us updated throughout the process. Without Starship he would not be here. Starship welcomed and appreciated the importance of family in the healing process.” It's thanks to the generosity of our wonderful Mercury customers and other donors that help Starship provide this incredible care and service.

So how is Ollie these days? Well, now at 30 years old he’s counting the days until he can go on trips with his wife and friends and is looking forward to becoming a dad himself! Healthwise, everything is tracking well. After the initial incident, Ollie would visit Starship for a routine heart scan every two years, just to ensure that everything was still looking good, and continues to do so now as an adult.

Looking back on his time in the hospital, Ollie reflects “Without all the staff involved with my case I wouldn’t be here today, which makes me forever grateful. Being 12 at the time, I didn’t really understand the total severity of my situation even though many of the doctors and nurses explained it to me. Having grown up and understanding everything now I feel that it has made me the person I am today.”

On behalf of Ollie and the thousands of other Kiwi kids who have passed through Starship’s doors throughout the past 20 years, thank you. Support from our wonderful customers has made all the difference to Starship over the years, and we're excited to continue supporting Aotearoa's national children's hospital together!

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The information provided in this article is of a general nature and not intended to be a substitute for personalised, professional advice. Mercury recommends that you always seek appropriate advice from a qualified professional to suit your individual circumstances. Links to external, non-Mercury websites are provided as a reference only, and do not imply a partnership or endorsement of their content.