With a passion for sport, a love for the guitar and dreams of becoming an actor, Oliver Sapier comes across as a typical teen.
But the Grammar School of Leeds pupil has lived all his life within the limitations of a rare medical condition, which meant that he spent much of the first two years of his life in hospital being fed through a machine.
A rare chronic stomach and bowel condition meant that his early life was marred by five bouts of septicaemia and around 40 operations.
But now able to eat and taking regular medication, 15-year-old Oliver is keen to give back to Leeds General Infirmary and in particular high dependency unit L42 due to the care of medical staff he has received there over the years.
He said: “The ward gave so much to me, it’s been like my second home and I need to give something back. Also I want to do something that will make me feel proud.”
Determined to raise money, Oliver, who still has an overnight feed into his bowel to maintain nutrition, has entered The Big Leeds Bike Ride – a sponsored 50-mile ride from Roundhay Park to York and back.
Having raised over £1,800 in donations, the youngster is hoping the money will pay for items like portable DVD players for patients, new board games and an overhaul of the playroom.
Oliver is the youngest of four children and tries to live life as normal despite the “ups and downs” of his condition.
He said: “I can walk around school in a lot of pain and not show it, which is why people can sometimes be confused about my condition – they can’t actually see the pain.
“It’s very hard, but I have learned to cope. I have the support of a wonderful family.”
Oliver has been riding his bike training every Sunday for weeks. Visit www.justgiving.com/Oliver-Sapier to donate.