A BATTLING two-year-old boy who has just come through a major operation has been given his freedom thanks to generous fundraisers.
Oliver Smart was left unable to walk after he was diagnosed with a rare form of childhood cancer when he was just eight months old.
Last month, he underwent a four-hour operation at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary to remove a large section of a tumour that was putting pressure on the tot’s other vital organs.
Generous fundraisers, including Hartlepool fabrication company Heerema, have raised around £2,000 which has paid for a new electronic quad bike – with his own personalised number plate.
Heerema made a £1,100 donation to Oliver’s parents Mandy and David Smart, of Brierton, Hartlepool.
And friends and family raised around £1,000 at a charity night when one supporter went as Oliver’s favourite superhero the Hulk.
David, 38, said: “It is just brilliant what people have done.
“We got more than enough to buy Oliver’s quad.
“Now he can get about with the other kids. Before he was having nightmares, now he wakes up saying he had a dream about the Hulk and his quad bike.
“It is filling his dreams with good things.”
The charity night, at Busby’s bar, in Church Street, with raffles and karaoke, was organised by Michelle Mann after she read about Oliver’s illness online.
Mandy, 28, and David, who also have Joshua, nine, Courtney, seven, Thomas, six, Riley, four and 11-month-old Bethany, plan to use the money left over for a short caravan break.
And they have invited Michelle as well as a thank you.
David added: “It’s brilliant what they have done for us. We still can’t believe how well Oliver is doing considering the size of the operation.
“After a week on the ward he was back home. We didn’t expect him to heal so quickly.
“He has fought this all the way.”
Doctors said Oliver would never be able to walk unaided after he was diagnosed with neuroblastoma which left him paralysed from the waist down.
Fewer than 100 children in the UK are diagnosed with the condition each year.
But following his last operation, Oliver experienced more feeling in his legs.
And he can stand up on his own with the aid of special ankle splints.
Surgeons told Oliver’s family it was to risky to try to remove all of the tumour and they are keeping a close eye on it with regular check ups.