Wednesday 22 May, 2019

Fiancé, family doing everything to help Olivia fight

Olivia Cossey surrounded by Nicholas Ward and her family members. (Facebook image)

Olivia Cossey surrounded by Nicholas Ward and her family members. (Facebook image)

Hoping to raise over USD $350,000 to get his fiancée Olivia Cossey the best care she needs to improve her health and life, is one determined Nicholas ‘Nick’ Ward.

When they say not all heroes wear capes, they must have been speaking to this tower of strength who is committed to giving his Olivia the best fighting chance to live her best life.

Olivia is currently hospitalised in the United States (US) as of October 24, 2018. The demands of her undiagnosed illness were too demanding for local caregivers unfortunately and so, Nick is working day and night along with Team Olivia – family and friends, to get Olivia all she needs.

But of course, his time is split between her bedside and his efforts to raise funds in aid of Olivia. Oh, and he started a GoFundMe account for her as well.

In the story on the GoFundMe page, Nick wrote:

“Olivia’s past in the recent years has not always been an easy one health wise. She is just 26 years old and suffers from an undiagnosed disorder with two previous strokes, one of which forced her into an emergency craniotomy to remove a clot from her brain three years ago. Luckily, she was able to beat the odds in both incidents and fight back to us. From then, she has been living on a regimen of blood thinners with the aim of preventing further clotting. Hematology, homeopathy, neurological tests and more, nothing could seem to fully pinpoint her condition.

“On Saturday 18th August our world would be drastically turned upside down, this time much worse than before. Olivia woke next to me at about 4:00am with a terrible pain in her neck. We decided to make our way to Sandy Crest to see the doctor and request a CT scan, fearful of her past but hopeful. Within minutes of reaching the Medical Centre and laying down to see the doctor, the pain became excruciating throughout her head and she lay there screaming for medication to ease the agony. Her last words to me were, ‘I can’t do this again… You all look upside down.’”

Chatting to Nicholas, who is ever upbeat, he said that his days surround Olivia. “I am in the hospital with Olivia every day assisting with her therapies.” He is not helplessly sitting by at all.

Loop asked Nick how he’s staying so optimistic.

“For me, I stay positive cause that's the only way to be. I cannot help Olivia if i'm a wreck so it's honestly the only choice. I believe in her and the team that surrounds her. Without hope what is there really? We certainly have the love for her down packed so it's just to push the rest forward always.”

In terms of what is needed at this time for Olivia, Nick explained:

“The original target for Olivia's care was USD $350,000, including air ambulance from Barbados to USA, just for 90 days of rehabilitation at West Gables Rehabilitation Hospital in Florida.

“However, this amount did not include extra care or necessities which we've had to add to her care including the following: PEG Tube placement for her nutrition and additional MRI & MRA scans which have to be completed at Kendal Regional Hospital, blood works to pin point her underlying condition and more. In addition, if and we hope not there is ever any issue that causes her to need critical care we would have to admit her, at an additional cost, to an acute care hospital that would be able to assist her.”

In just one month the GoFundMe has raised USD $72,940 contributed by 586 people.


Speaking to the response, Nick shared, “We have been seeing fantastic response both locally and internationally so far, and through this assistance both via our GoFundMe and direct transfers to her Barbados account, we have fully covered her first six weeks of treatment to the sum of USD $160,000.00. There is still a ways to go in raising the funds needed to keep Olivia in her rehabilitation program in the US, hence the Fundraiser at the Yacht Club on Friday November 30 - Independence Day.”

Named ‘Love for Olivia’ Nick is delighted that the tickets are moving well for the fundraiser. The donation is $50 per ticket.

Giving an update today on Olivia’s health, Saturday, November 24, 2018, Nick said:

“Olivia is currently still being weaned off the ventilator. The hospital has received the Passy Muir speech valve, which would assist with Olivia's communication once all goes to plan. She's currently set at a rate on the ventilator that works like CPAP - she's being given one breath per minute to assist with opening her airways and doing the rest on her own. At night, they turn her ventilator up to 10 breaths in order to let her rest but plan on lowering this as well.

“Everyday she has therapies including: Speech - dealing with re-learning how to swallow, communication, oral care; Occupational and Physiotherapy.

“Currently, the team is trying to manage her blood pressure as this can run both high and low throughout the day. When you are in bed for as long as she has been, the mix between both her nervous system and medications can cause this.”

Noting that Olivia is a little closer at this point to coming off the ventilator, Loop asked Nick how he thinks he will feel when he hears her voice again.

“I will be over the moon to hear her voice again. It will be very special and we can only hope that everything can continue to trend forward positively,” he declared.

Olivia has been ventilated since her stroke - August 18, 2018. Her coma and lower levels of consciousness have been since then as well. Nick disclosed, “only since we've come to the US have we been seeing much improvement with her arousal, awareness and cognitive state.

“She has her moments of clarity where she can mouth answers to questions, differentiate between colours, say I love you too... It's a long process of healing.”

But not only is Team Olivia strong, Olivia is very strong too as she continues to show every day.

“She is strong, and we are here to pick her up when she needs us and make sure she has the tools necessary to push her along the way. It's super important to be there for her always.

“Her family and I have been by her side every single day along the way and that's not going to change, and friends as well of course, considered family.”

Olivia is not going a day alone.

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