A MANAGER at a Bromsgrove swim club is preparing to cycle 100km to raise money for a nine-year-old boy, who was forced to drop out of lessons to undergo chemotherapy.

Oliver Portman, from Cofton Hackett, was diagnosed with a rare form of leukaemia in January, but his treatment was placed on hold this month when seizures, caused by a blood clot on his brain, left doctors with no choice but to place Oli into a coma.

Mum Claire told the Advertiser: "Oli was diagnosed with type T acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, which is a rarer form but really treatable.

"Unfortunately the chemo caused him to develop a clot on his brain and he was rushed in for an emergency craniectomy - to remove part of his skull and relieve the pressure - and was induced into a coma for three days.

"Doctors told us to expect the worst - that if he was lucky enough to survive the operation, he would be completely immobile down the right side of his body and struggle with speech, swallowing, motion and personality."

But the Lickey Hills Primary School pupil defied doctors' predictions, and is now breathing, eating, and talking without assistance, and is hopeful to one day swim again at Bromsgrove School Sports Centre.

Meanwhile, the centre's commercial manager Paul Felton is training to ride 100km through the hilly Cotswolds for charity Cyclists Fighting Cancer, with sponsorship going towards two new bikes for Oli and his seven-year-old brother Lewis.

"The way Oli has recovered is a miracle," said Claire. "Even doctors have said this is a first for them."

"Paul has been supportive throughout," she added. "He was a complete stranger before I emailed to say the boys wouldn't be attending swimming classes anymore, but he does a lot of charity work and asked if he could buy Oli a specially-adapted bike. We were overwhelmed.

"He came to visit us in hospital and we've built up a friendship. It's just wonderful what he's doing for us."

Paul, age 51, is aiming to raise £1,000 in time for the fundraiser on May 27.

Bromsgrove Advertiser:

He said: "I have a daughter the same age and I can’t imagine what the Portman family is going through.

"Although I can’t make Oli better, I decided I would make use of my own good health and raise money to help the boys.

"While Oli will benefit greatly from the exercise, this will also give Lewis a chance to let off steam and bond with his brother.

"There is no doubt that Oli is suffering immensely but I think the effect on the rest of the family, particularly siblings, can be hugely underestimated."

To sponsor Paul, visit justgiving.com/crowdfunding/paul-felton.