Ipswich: Doctors told parents to fear the worst and say final goodbye to teenage stroke victim

HE thought it was a hangover at first but within hours the seriousness of Oliver Lilburn’s condition became apparent as it was discovered the 18-year-old had suffered a stroke.

Just over a year ago Oliver started shaking uncontrollably in front of school friends in Ipswich and ended up vomiting and passing out. Since his stroke, it has been a tough year of rehabilitation and now he wants to raise awareness about the illness.

Today, 19-year-old Oliver, now preparing to go to university after being postponed last year, said: “To be honest, I still haven’t really comes to terms with the whole thing.

“I thought I was just hungover. But my vision was blurry, then later in the day my whole right side started shaking, then I vomited on the way to hospital and passed out,” he said.

Oliver, a former student at St Joseph’s College in Ipswich, was experiencing a brain haemorrhage, which doctors said caused his stroke.

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He said he now wants to make others aware about the condition, and raise money for young adults like him who might not have the incredible family support he has experienced over the past year.

“Part of my rehab is going to the gym, and I’m lucky to always go with my dad, brother, cousin, or a close friend during the week,” he said.

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Oliver, who lives in Dedham, and many of his fellow pupils had just returned from a six-week charity project in Africa when he was struck down with the life-threatening condition.

“The doctors told mum and dad to fear the worst and say last goodbyes. It was touch and go for a while,” he said.

The following day Oliver was transferred from Ipswich Hospital to the intensive care unit at Addenbrooke’s in Cambridge.

His close friend Florence Irvine, 19, from Felixstowe, said: “We went up the morning after it happened – it was horrible.

“He’s usually so energetic and fun and he just looked so fragile.

“He could tell we were there and would grab our hands but that was all we were getting from him.”

The stroke left Oliver without any movement on his right side and affected his speech.

“He has almost made a full recovery, apart from having slightly slurred speech.

Florence added: “A lot of young people don’t have access to what Ollie has had and some need more help than just what their family can give them, that’s why we wanted to raise money for a charity like ‘Different Strokes’, who can help young stroke survivors.”

For more information about Different Strokes or to donate, go to www.differentstrokes.co.uk or phone 0845 130 7172.

Have you suffered from a similar condition and do you want to raise awareness?

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