Macksville boy Oliver Hawes on the road to recovery after being diagnosed with rare disorder

Fun loving, active and full of life, Ollie before his diagnosis of Moyamoya. Photo: supplied by Helen Hawes.


EIGHT-year-old Macksville boy Oliver Hawes was ready to devour his lunch over the Easter long weekend whilst visiting family when his mother Helen Hawes, an enrolled nurse, noticed he wasn’t himself.

Ollie had started eating his sausage for lunch when he asked for some sauce.

As he stood to go and look for it, Helen noticed his face had drooped, a classic sign of a stroke.

“I took the sausage off him and said, ‘What is going on?’

“He wasn’t very clear when he answered me, but he did manage to say.”

“My hand feels funny.

“My first reaction was he is having a stroke, I was in disbelief though as you only imagine ‘oldies’ and smokers having them.”

Oliver was rushed to the closest hospital and then transferred to Sydney’s Westmead Children’s Hospital where he underwent numerous scans and tests.

It was then that Ollie was diagnosed with ‘Moyamoya’, a rare progressive disorder that affects the blood vessels in the brain.

It is characterized by the narrowing of the carotid artery inside the skull, causing an inadequate supply of blood leading to reduced oxygen delivered to the brain.

“The doctors could see the vessel was narrow and the blood flow was there,” Ms Hawes said.

“They were planning on an angiogram in the coming days to investigate how narrow it was and make a plan from there as the neurosurgery is a last resort.”

Ollie had a major stroke that night and immediate bypass neurosurgery was required.

He spent the next nine days in intensive care.

The stroke affected the movement of Ollie’s right side and he also lost his speech.

WHILE The road to recovery is going to be a long one for Ollie, Ms Hawes told News Of The Area, “Ollie is smashing his goals.

“He started walking without assistance.

“He has attempted soccer and running, he is like Bambi, and has given me several heart attacks over the weekend as I feared he would fall and hit his head.”

Whilst many words are now popping into Ollie’s brain, he is still struggling to remember what he is trying to say and which order to put his words into.

“The highlight of Ollie’s week was to take a trip to the hospital school classroom,” Ms Hawes said.

“He loved it!”

The supportive Nambucca Valley community is rallying together to hold a fundraiser on Friday May 28 at the Macksville Ex Services club.

A family fun night is planned with some amazing activities and prizes to be won, donated by local businesses.
Bookings are essential for this event.

Ms Hawes is very passionate about bringing Moyamoya to the forefront of conversations within the broader community.

“There were no warning signs,” Ms Hawes said of the time before Ollie’s diagnosis.

“People need to be aware children have strokes too.”

She would like to thank everyone for their support by wearing blue and or changing their Facebook profiles to the Moyamoya stamp on World Moyamoya Day on May 6.




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