Oliver Climas loved cuddles, balloons and his adoring family. But most of all, he loved Postman Pat.
About 200 family and friends gathered at Ridgehaven to farewell Ollie, who last week died in his parents’ bed surrounded by his family at their Craigmore home.
Born on April 7, 2013, Oliver was the first son for Matthew and Nadine Climas, and at eight months, was found to have the incredibly rare Pearson Syndrome, which only about 100 people have been diagnosed with worldwide since the 1970s.
Pearson Syndrome affects sufferers in different ways, in Oliver’s case it was his immune system that copped the brunt of the disease.
“We knew this day would come but you can never brace yourself for it, and it doesn’t feel right,” Mr Climas said.
“You don’t expect to be at a place like this on a day like today to mark the end of a life journey that had hardly started, but here we are saying farewell to Oliver, before his time.”
Late last month, Oliver went into a deep sleep from which his family knew could be his last.
Mr Climas recounted how he and Nadine spoke to Ollie, assuring him it was okay if his little body was too tired to wake again.
“We spoke to him about how he had fought a brave battle and that he had nothing else to prove,” Mr Climas said.
“Of course we wanted him to stay, but we told him if it was his time to go, that was also okay.”
An emotional Mrs Climas told Oliver: ‘I will always be proud of you and I will remember you every single day’ her husband said.
“It was like he was waiting to hear these words from us, as only 20 minutes later he took his last breath, at home in our bed with us.”
Doctors initially predicted Oliver would not live past three years of age.
But in addition to cuddling strangers, charming any lady who crossed his cheeky path and Postman Pat, Oliver Climas loved beating the odds.
“He had huge fight in him to overcome the many challenges that he faced and as scary as things became, it was quite remarkable watching him bounce back time and time again,” Mr Climas said.
While the condition prevented him from going to kindergarten or school and many typical childhood activities, Oliver derived sheer joy just from watching others enjoy themselves.
“Oliver loved interacting with others, and loved watching other kids running around laughing, he would scream in excitement,” his father said.
After enduring a hospital visit that lasted almost a full year, during which his charm and affection saw Womens and Children’s Hospital nurses “wrapped around his finger”, he bounced back.
Mr Climas said a cherished memory was when Oliver was page boy at their wedding on Daydream Island in 2016.
“That day was just as much about him as it was about us, we shared the spotlight,” he said.
Few who attended yesterday’s celebration will hear the catchy Postman Pat tune again without thinking of Ollie and his short but stellar life.
The theme song played repeatedly, prompting Mr Climas to recall how Ollie would take up most of their kingsize bed with his collection of Postman Pat DVDs.
“Another priceless memory is of him waking up each morning, gently slapping your face so you could turn Postman Pat back on, sometimes at three in the morning,” he said.
The Climas family will next month travel to Melbourne where baby Violet will undergo surgery to repair a heart defect, which they hope will cure her and allow her a normal childhood.
Mr Climas thanked the team of doctors, nurses, carers and therapists who helped Ollie on his journey, and his old footy club Fitzroy, who honoured the little boy by wearing black armbands in last week’s matches.