IT’S an emotional moment shared by all parents – the first day their child starts school.
But for Rachel and Dan Taplin, it’s a day they thought they would never get to see.
When he was just a few days old, their son Oliver was taken to hospital with a blood clot on his brain.
They were advised by doctors that he was so poorly he wouldn’t make it through and that they should give him one last cuddle.
Yet Oliver, five, defied all the odds to survive. And now he joins hundreds of four and five-year-olds across the area excitedly walking through the school gates for the first time.
Rachel, from Warsash, said: ‘It really is a day that we thought we’d never see.’
To say ‘thank you’ to Southampton General Hospital, where Oliver received vital treatment, Rachel will be taking part in the Great South Run.
She’ll be tackling the 10-mile route next month in a bid to raise money for the paediatric unit.
‘I’ve not really done any fundraising as yet for any of the people who helped us and there are so many people I didn’t know where to begin,’ said Rachel.
‘But the paediatric unit is where it all started – everything comes back to that.
‘Without them, children like Oliver wouldn’t survive and I don’t think they get enough recognition for what they do.
‘I still write to them every year and I still write to the doctor who told us to take him to hospital.’
Despite Oliver having cerebral palsy and epilepsy, Rachel and Dan have decided that he should go to a mainstream school, Holbrook Primary School in Wych Lane, Gosport.
Oliver suffered a fit within the first few days of being born.
His family took him to Southampton General, where he suffered a second fitting episode.
A CT scan revealed a blood clot and meant doctors would need to use thinning drugs to break it down. This was when Oliver’s parents were warned he might not survive.
But he astounded everyone when he started showing signs of improvement.
n To read more about Oliver’s amazing story, turn to our Real Life feature on page 21.