Prince Harry is already a leader in changing stigma surrounding mental health, as he worked through his own painful background after the death of his mother.
By: Kim Davis/Liftable Prince Harry’s heart for the hurting mirrors the compassion and concern shown by his late mother, Princess Diana. The princess was not afraid to embrace the downtrodden, often making secret visits to the hospital, as Prince Harry did on May 2.
Prince Harry is already a leader in changing stigma surrounding mental health, as he worked through his own painful background after the death of his mother. He understands what it means to suffer, and the crippling isolation that comes from suffering alone.
In October 2016, Prince Harry met Ollie Carroll, a 6-year-old boy battling a terminal illness called Batten disease. Ollie won The Most Inspirational Child Award at the Wellchild Awards, where he mustered up the strength to stand up of his own volition, bringing his parents to tears.
Ollie’s parents, Lucy and Mike Carroll said the meeting last October was “magical,” and believe their son formed an unbreakable bond with Prince Harry on that day. Ollie continues to receive medical treatments alongside his sister, 3-year-old Amelia, who also was diagnosed with Batten disease.
The Carroll’s later wrote a letter to Prince Harry, updating him on their children’s lives, and thanking him for his support. “We thanked him for giving our son the strength to stand when we thought this was no longer possible,” Lucy Carroll wrote.
During Ollie and Amelia’s most recent treatment at the Great Ormond Street Hospital, Prince Harry himself walked through the doors to check in on the children. He cradled Ollie in his arms, made Amelia laugh, and most importantly, gave the family a happy memory that will always be cherished.
“For an hour Prince Harry sat with us talking and playing with our children, laughing and making memories,” Carroll wrote. “The very thing our children want the most in life, to be happy and having fun.”
In the midst of their struggles, Lucy and Mike Carroll are proud that their children are inspiring adults everywhere with their determination, strength, and love. “The love, the support, and the laughter within that treatment room on Tuesday will stay with us forever,” Lucy Carroll wrote.
Batten disease is “a rare, fatal, inherited disorder of the nervous system that usually begins in childhood,” according to Beyond Batten Disease Foundation. The children will eventually lose their sight, the ability to move their muscles, and suffer mental impairment combined with increasing seizures.
Devastated that they will watch two of their beautiful children suffer and eventually pass prematurely, Lucy and Mike Carroll are hoping to raise awareness of Batten disease. Their fundraising efforts are to advance medical research and pay for specialized equipment needed to treat a child battling the disease.
“From the bottom of our hearts, we thank Prince Harry for his support, his time and his kindness towards our family and our journey with Batten Disease,” Lucy Carroll wrote. “It was truly incredible to watch him with our children and to have the opportunity to talk with him about our journey with Battens.”