SAN DIEGO — Doctors told Olly's parents that their little boy wouldn't see his second birthday. On Tuesday, he celebrated turning 10 with a drive-by parade filled with cool cars, trucks, and even a mariachi band.
Olly was born near Fresno, and it was clear from day one that he had serious medical issues. After 16 months, doctors finally figured it out.
“He was diagnosed with a pretty rare cancer of the immune system called Langerhans cell histiocytosis,” said Shannan Ajluni, Olly’s mom. “Our hospital up there told us the kindest thing to do was take him home and let him go.”
Instead, Olly’s mom researched the best hospitals to handle his condition. That led her to Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego. They’ve been coming down for treatment every month ever since.
On Thursday, Olly celebrated his birthday at the Ronald McDonald House because he and his mom were down here when the stay at home order was implemented. Now they can't leave because his dad and sister work in essential jobs.
“With his cancer and my cancer - I'm battling stage 4 breast cancer - we're at a high risk for catching [COVID-19]. They're at a high risk for being exposed to it,” Shannan said.
Always one to make the best of a situation, Olly's mom organized a drive-by parade that was filled with one of Olly’s favorite things – trucks.
“He has things that he likes and I try to make it happen because nothing is promised for anyone, but for him, everything is extra,” Shannan said.
Among those joining in on the fun was News 8’s Kyle Kraska, who drove by in a Hummer and wished Olly a happy birthday.
“I’m overwhelmed with how strong this young man is. It obviously is something very close to me when someone can overcome the odds and he has done that," Kyle said.
A mariachi band also surprised Olly, but what’s really music to the ears of Olly and his family is that his cancer is not currently active - which is as close to remission as he will ever get.
And what did Olly think of his party? His smile told the story to match his words:
“Thank you to everyone for coming to my 10th birthday,” he said. “Thank you very much.”
If you would like to help Olly’s family with their mounting medical bills, they have set up a GoFundMe page.