Eight-year-old North East schoolboy left critically ill after catching 'mild dose' of chicken pox

Ollie Manders-Lambert
Ollie Manders-Lambert -Credit:supplied by family

An eight-year-old boy was left fighting for his life after contracting "a mild dose" of chicken pox.

Ollie Manders-Lambert became seriously ill when the spots were starting to clear up, with medics believing that after he fought off the virus his body kept fighting itself - ending up with severe swelling on the brain. The youngster, from Redcar, is currently in the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) in Newcastle.

He is showing signs that he is responding to treatment but his family says there is a long road ahead. His mums, Becky Manders and Sam Lambert, have been at his bedside throughout and say it is a waiting game to see how the youngster recovers, reports TeessideLive.

Becky, 38, said: "It's been horrendous. It is like a dream, you can't believe your child has chicken pox and then ends up critically ill. We were actually pleased that he had a mild dose, he wasn't poorly at all.

"He was about to return to school and the spots had scabbed over. The next day he started sleeping a lot and was vomiting, then he started to become confused and we really started to worry."

Ollie Manders-Lambert,  pictured with his baby nephew Lorenzo
Ollie Manders-Lambert, pictured with his baby nephew Lorenzo -Credit:supplied by family

Ollie's parents took him to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough where staff carried out numerous tests including an MRI and found he had swelling on the brain. When Ollie's condition continued to deteriorate, it was decided to transfer him to the RVI.

Becky said doctors diagnosed him with autoimmune encephalitis, saying: "His body went into overdrive. The antibodies needed to fight the chicken pox then started fighting his brain."

She said over the weekend his condition seems to have stabilized and he is trying to speak and make movements, but his family, including his older sister, Katie, have no idea how long he will be in hospital. There will be a long recovery of re-learning how to walk and talk again.

Ollie is a member of Cleveland Juniors FC where he trains four times a week. The chairman, Michelle Rush, launched a fundraising page to help his parents. Michelle said: "We are very much a family here and everyone wants to help. We are going to do a charity football match as well."

Becky, who is a full-time carer for Sam, said: "I just want to say how grateful we are. We really appreciate it very much. We might even need to do adaptations to the house, we just don't know how he will recover. Ollie is such an active little boy, he loves his football. He will be desperate to get back on the pitch, I think that's what is pushing him on."

Becky also wanted to thank all the staff at both hospitals who have been caring for Ollie. Anyone who would like to make a donation can visit the fundraising page here.