Ed Sheeran owes his fans a lot; with all 16 tracks from Divide in the singles top 20, his loyal devotees have come out in record-breaking force to support his music.
Luckily, the 26-year-old songwriter who loves to sing about the country lanes of his Suffolk hometown, proved once again that he’s a Nice, Normal Bloke.
Ollie is just 6-years-old and suffers with an incredibly rare terminal illness that has left him unable to walk or speak. His doctors believe he won’t live past the age of 12.
Ollie’s mother, Lucy, appealed to the Thinking Out Loud singer, saying: “Ollie, who once knew all the words to Ed’s songs, who used to sing along, can no longer talk.”
Sheeran was so touched by the family’s story he invited them all to the gig and met them backstage, vowing to throw his weight behind the Ollie’s Army campaign, which aims to spread awareness of the rare disease and raises funds to buy specialist equipment and fund future research for Battens Disease.
Lucy joined the young boy at the concert alongside his dad, Mike, sister Amelia – who has also been diagnosed with the illness – and Ollie’s brothers, Micky and Danny.
The family were all moved when Sheeran wore a red Ollie’s Army wristband to perform on stage in front of thousands.
Ollie’s mother said:
Ollie, who used to stand at the television watching Ed’s videos can no longer stand and see. The power of Ed’s voice has pulled Ollie through the hardest and darkest of times.
As soon as Ed walked into the room and spoke Ollie’s eye lit up and a smile spread across his face. This image was priceless. Ed spent time with Ollie and gave him the biggest of cuddles, he had high fives with Amelia who was completely in love and couldn’t stop staring at him.
Ed is one of the loveliest guys we have ever met, he asked us to explain Batten Disease and Ollie’s Army. He was truly saddened by our journey. To us, last night Ollie wasn’t meeting a star, he was meeting ‘his’ star, he was meeting the man that taught him the power and love of music.
As parents we can not thank Ed, his team and every single person who shared Ollie’s video enough. Our dying boy wished to meet his hero, that wish was granted.
It has been incredibly difficult for us to make this video, looking through old videos and photographs have brought with them sleepless nights. But as you know, we set up Ollie's Army to raise awareness, even though at times its painful to explain over and over again that our children are dying. We know awareness is vital for not just our children, but for all families affected by Batten Disease. Please watch and share our journey to help raise awareness of Batten Disease.
Posted by Ollie's Army Battling Against Battens on Tuesday, 11 April 2017
Ollie and his family have been tirelessly campaigning to raise awareness about the degenerative condition, Battens Disease, since the young boy was diagnosed in February 2015.
You can lend your support on the Ollie’s Army Facebook page.
A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you’ve never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.