Mild dose of chicken pox leaves Teesside youngster fighting for his life

Ollie Manders-Lambert with baby nephew, Lorenzo
Ollie Manders-Lambert with baby nephew, Lorenzo -Credit:Family

A mild dose of chicken pox left a Teesside youngster fighting for his life.

Ollie Manders-Lambert, eight, became seriously unwell 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 Redcar youngster is currently in the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) in Newcastle, and although he is showing signs of responding to treatment his family knows 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 football-mad youngster recovers.

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 with his family
Ollie with his family -Credit:UGC
Ollie is a doting uncle to his baby nephew, Lorenzo
Ollie is a doting uncle to his baby nephew, Lorenzo -Credit:UGC

Ollie's parents rushed him to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough where worried staff carried out numerous tests including an MRI and found he had swelling on the brain. When treatment failed to work and Ollie's condition continued to deteriorate drastically, 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 and there will be a long recovery of re-learning to walk and talk again.

Ollie, a pupil at St Benedict's Catholic Primary School, 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 with the massive financial burden of having a poorly child and within days the figure stands at £2,425.

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 when they heard about the fund-raising they were blown away. She 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."

Ollie Manders-Lambert
Ollie all smiles just two weeks ago when he has chicken pox

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

For breaking news in your area direct to your inbox every day, go here to sign up to our free newsletter