Brotherly Love Met With Surprise Visit

You may not know Oliver Bailey personally, but he is one special boy.

The brother of Tilly Bailey, who has one of the rarest genetic conditions in the world Neonatal-Onset Multisystem Inflammatory Disease (NOMID), spends a lot of time helping his sister in any way he can. And not just at Christmas, but throughout the year.

Oliver had a Christmas dream come true last year when his father arranged a visit from two of his idols from the West Ham United football team. Mark Noble and James Tomkins arrived at Oliver’s home as part of West Ham United’s Like My Dreams program.

Oliver was visibly shocked when his father pulled the blindfold from his face and he saw his heroes standing outside the family’s front door.  He said: “I was shocked; it felt like I was dreaming. I thought my present was going to be chocolate or FIFA 14, not this.”

The pro athletes, who live in the town of Brentwood, brought gifts for 10-year-old Oliver and his 16-year-old sister, Tilly. The football team’s Like My Dreams program is visiting dozens of fans–of all ages–so they can have a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Tilly’s struggle with NOMID worsened three years ago. She has been on life support and makes regular visits to the hospital for check-ups.

James Tomkins said, “Not many 10-year-olds can say they do what he does for their sisters; it takes a lot of courage and a lot of effort and hopefully we’ll have rewarded him with our presence tonight.” He hoped their visit had brightened up Oliver’s holidays.

Tomkins said he and Nobel particularly like giving back to the fans who come out and support their team, and especially for those who selflessly lend a hand to others.

Oliver’s father, Colin, recognizes the difficulties his son goes through having a sister who is seriously ill with NOMID, and contacted West Ham United to see if he could make one of Oliver’s dreams come true.  After the footballers left, Colin said, “They were just fantastic. They were completely unhurried and sat down with him to play on the X Box and gave him all their time.”

Colin praised his son saying, “He is always in the background for [Tilly] – if she’s down he’ll go through into her room and sit down with her and make her laugh.”

Read more on this story here.

All images from Brentwood Gazette

Erica Zahn

Erica Zahn

Erica Zahn is passionate about raising awareness of rare diseases and disorders and helping people connect with the resources that may ease their journey. Erica has been a caregiver, and is a patient, herself, so she completely relates to the rare disease community--on a deeply personal level.

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