Oliver’s cookbook set to raise awareness of childhood strokes

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A TODDLER who suffered a stroke at birth looks to be the next big thing in the culinary world - he stars in a new cookbook in aid of West Suffolk Hospital and The Stroke Association.

Oliver Archer, who turns two next month, suffered a stroke during his mother’s labour and spent seven days in the Neo-natal Unit of West Suffolk Hospital.

Now Oliver’s parents, James and Liz Archer, from Higham, are releasing a cookery book from their son’s perspective called Oliver’s Kitchen to raise awareness of childhood strokes.

Liz said she had never heard of a baby having a stroke before she discovered it had happened to Oliver.

She said: “We thought he was perfectly healthy when he was born but 12 hours later I noticed he wasn’t feeding properly.

“Our other daughter Mia was a hungry baby and Oliver was born at a good size.

“It was then I noticed he was making jerking movements - much like hiccups.

“I called a member of staff to have a look at him - when she put him down his arm and his leg were jerking,

“I asked if it was normal for this to happen and they said no.

“At that point I didn’t realise how serious it was.

“I had never heard of a baby having a stroke before - I assumed it only happened to older people.

“They carried out tests and a CT scan and later a MRI scan which showed a pie slice of the left side of his brain had been affected.

“He went to a special baby care unit just 12 hours after he was born and then it was a week before he was allowed home.”

James, 30, and Liz, 31, began a blog to document the first year of Oliver’s life for James’ Grandparents, Jane and William Smith, who live in Bars in France.

Many of the photographs were taken while Liz, Oliver and his older sister Mia, four, cooked treats and the blog began looking more and more like a cookbook.

James, a graphic designer, decided to turn Oliver’s blog into a full book of recipes to raise money and awareness for the hospital that helped the couple through Oliver’s first days and to the Stroke Association who gave much needed support to them throughout their ordeal.

Liz said that Oliver was getting on great now but that they would have to keep a keen eye on his future progress.

She said: “The hospital were just superb - when we were there they offered us emotional support as well as practical help.

“They went above and beyond what they had to do and helped us as a family which was great. You feel very lonely when something like this it happens to you and your family, you just want to talk to someone who has gone through a similar situation.

“Hopefully this book will offer people in a similar position some hope.”

Oliver’s Kitchen, priced at £9.99, is available from the Friends of West Suffolk Hospital shop or by visiting www.olivers-kitchen.co.uk