Ollie has autism and has raised over £2,000
Ollie: I’ve been swimming since I was 6 years old at the Aspire Leisure Centre, with Tom, my one-to-one swimming teacher. I’m 9 years old but I did the Aspire Channel Swim before, when I was younger. I saw the posters and I was told about it by Tom and my mum. I feel happy about doing the swim again and I’ve been training hard.
Water is one of my favourite places. Because I have autism, the pool makes me feel comfortable and shields me. I like my lessons at Aspire because I spend time with Tom, and I like that the water makes me feel calm.
Kellie (Ollie’s mum): Ollie was diagnosed with autism when he was 2½. He was non-verbal and had no interest in people or the world around him. From a young age we found that the water was his safe place and a place he felt most comfortable. I managed to get him one-to-one sessions at the Aspire Leisure Centre when he was about 6. Thursdays are one of his most favourite days of the week and the bond he has with his swimming teacher Tom is truly unique. It’s so lovely to see them interact with each other, they even have ways of communicating with one another under the water!
Ollie has come a very long way and has come so far in life. He can communicate and do literally anything when he puts his mind to it. He suffers from mild scoliosis, asthma and has very bad anxiety and gets very stressed and worried at times. The water is his happy place and somewhere he would spend hours if he could. He wanted to take on this challenge to help people and give them a good future. He is a very sensitive, loving boy with a pure heart and has overcome so much. He’s one of life’s fighters for sure and the love and support he’s had when it comes to raising the money has been so overwhelming.
Ollie: “I had help to raise the money. It was mostly people from my family who sponsored me and I just have to say thank you to them for helping me. I’m happy I raised so much money for Aspire because I am helping people who are paralysed to have a better future. I would tell other kids to do the Aspire Channel Swim because some people’s lives have changed forever and the best thing we can do is to raise lots of money to give them a better future. Good luck to the kids raising money and good luck to the paralysed kids, I hope you have a good life.