They say laughter is the best medicine, but sometimes, a smile is just as good.
6-year-old Ollie Carroll suffers from Batten disease. It’s a fatal condition that’s left him unable to speak, walk or see. He’s in and out of hospital a lot. But there’s one thing that makes him smile and that’s Ed Sheeran‘s music.
So you can imagine, the smile that appeared on Ollie’s face when he and his family got to meet his “hero” backstage at a gig in Manchester.
The singer heard about Ollie and his sister Amelia, who’s also suffering from Battens, through a social media campaign. Ollie’s parents say their little boy used to sing along to Ed’s music and would stand by the TV watching him. Now, he can only listen to the songs which help him through some of his toughest days.
In a facebook post for Ollie’s Army Battling Against Battens, Ollie’s mum, Lucy, writes, “Ollie listens to Ed’s songs through his many hospital admissions, his songs have even helped him get through brain surgery.”After meeting the musician, the family posted another update, “As soon as Ed walked into the room yesterday and spoke, Ollie’s eyes lit up and a smile spread across his face.”
Ed spent his time with the family not only giving Ollie, Amelia and their two brothers cuddles and high-fives, but also learning more about Batten Disease.
It’s a genetic disease which leads to progressive neurological impairment and early death. Kids with Battens can often experience seizures, blindness, loss of motor skills like walking and talking as well as personality changes.
There is no cure for the disease but Ollie’s parents, who started Ollie’s Army Battling Against Battens, are hoping, by raising awareness and funds for research, a cure will be found. Until then, their organisation focuses on improving quality of life for kids with Battens and their families.
Ed Sheeran showed his support for Ollie’s Army by wearing a red wristband on stage in Manchester.