Midlothian teen 'back on his feet' after life-changing diagnosis at the age of 5

Oliver on golf buggy
Oliver was diagnosed with a brain tumour at just age 5 -Credit:Rays of Sunshine

A teenager from Midlothian says he is 'back on his feet' after he was given a devastating diagnosis when he was just five-years-old.

Oliver Constant, who's now 19, was diagnosed with a brain tumour back in 2010. The young lad admitted it had been a long 12-year journey but found a passion that helped him 'get back on his feet' after undergoing grueling chemotherapy.

He went through multiple rounds of chemotherapy, proton therapy and more than 20 operations to manage his condition. To help give him something else to focus on, mum Anne introduced Oliver to golf - and he never looked back.

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He explained that getting the diagnosis at such a young age meant that he missed out on a lot of school, while most kids his age were getting into the swing of things at primary school. While Oliver said the side effects 'weren't as bad as they could have been' it did leave him feeling exhausted and unable to do much.

The 19-year-old said: "I can't remember getting diagnosed, but I remember the treatment. I had just started primary school and I had to miss a lot of it. Eventually, in 2021 I ended up leaving school because it was just too much and I had started another round of chemo.

"I've had about five rounds and they've been relatively easy, the side effects haven't been that bad, but I do get so tired. The operations got easier over the years but I did feel nervous. It's not a great to go through."

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He added: "When I was 12, my mum took me out for golf. It was just something to get me out again. I wasn't really going outside because I was just so tired. I first just went along because I could spend time with mum, but then I really got into it.

"It clears my head. I focus on the scores and want to be better than I was before. I just don't think about anything else when I'm out there and now I compete in tournaments.

“My diagnosis has been hard to deal with sometimes, especially when it forced me to leave school, and having to be so careful during the pandemic,” says Oliver. “It can make me feel quite down and alone at times, but the one thing that has really helped to pick me up is golf.”

Oliver with mum and golfers
Oliver now competes in tournaments across the country -Credit:Rays of Sunshine

In 2022, Oliver was given the news that he was clear of cancer and had responded to treatment, after a lengthy 12-year-battle.

"It was pretty good getting told that I was clear. It meant I could start properly looking for work and living again."

Wish granting charity, Rays of Sunshine, have supported the Constant family since Oliver's diagnosis. Oliver was treated to a dream day of golf, thanks to the Renaissance Golf Club Foundation, with his golfing heroes – Rick Shiels, Peter Finch and Catriona Matthews – joining him on the course.

“The whole experience was like a dream, the next day you think: did that really just happen?” he says. “I have been watching Peter and Rick and Catriona play for years – they’ve been a kind of constant in my life – so to play golf and learn with them feels unreal," Oliver said.

Now, Oliver and his family are encouraging others to get involved with Ray for a Day, so that more magical wishes like his can be granted to other seriously ill children.

This year, getting involved in Ray for a Day is as easy as thinking up and fundraiser and getting started. Whether it’s a bake sale at work, a non-uniform day at school, or a physical/sporty challenge, your donations will be used to grant more magical wishes to children whose lives revolve around medicine, hospitals and doctors.

Amy Chambers, Director of Fundraising and Communications at Rays of Sunshine, said: “We’re so pleased that Oliver had an unforgettable time on his wish and are grateful to the Constant family for showing their support for our Ray for a Day campaign.

“We hope Oliver’s story inspires people across Edinburgh to join us for Ray for a Day. No matter what bright fundraising idea you have, every action counts - together, we can make the world a brighter place for seriously ill children.”

To support Ray for a Day, go to raysofsunshine.org.uk