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Ollie Miles Still Kicking Goals

25 June, 2024
Guy Gibson, Cruz Leahy, Rylan Schmidt, Jasper Jansen, Riley Eyles

St Brendan’s College Raises Nearly $16,000 in “Shave for a Cure” to Support Students Battling Leukemia

The community at St Brendan’s College came together in early June in a heartfelt display of solidarity, raising nearly $16,000 through their “Shave for a Cure” event. This initiative was organised not only to support Year 11 student Ollie Miles, who is currently undergoing intensive treatment for leukemia in Brisbane, but also to show support for other students within the college who have faced this devastating disease.

Ollie is fighting a rare form of leukemia identified as Philadelphia chromosome-positive (Ph+). This genetic anomaly, discovered only about a decade ago, can attach itself to various diseases, making advanced research and treatments critical. Recognising the importance of such research, the students of St Brendan’s College eagerly participated in the “Shave for a Cure” event.

The College has a tradition of coming together in times of need. The last “Shave for a Cure” event was held when Peter Bartlett was diagnosed with brain cancer. This year, the event focused on supporting Ollie and other students who have shown incredible resilience in the face of leukemia.

Ollie’s father, Clint, shared the inspiring story of his son’s battle. “Once diagnosed we knew very quickly Ollie was up for the challenge. He accepted it and immediately, went to a “what’s next” mentality and has faced this fight head on.” Clint said.

Clint remarked that Ollie has always been a “1 in 10” kind of person, pushing harder than anyone else. Miraculously, Ollie’s brother, Ari, was a perfect DNA match for a bone marrow transplant—a rare 10 out of 10 match, with only a 15% chance of occurring. Ari donated 1800ml of bone marrow, significantly aiding Ollie’s treatment plan.

Ollie’s perseverance is a testament to his character. Despite the intense pain from radiation-induced acute mucositis, a condition that causes 70% of patients to withdraw from treatment, Ollie chose to continue. His resilience is by shaped by his family, his school and his training with the Yeppoon Swans football club but mostly, his personal drive to always go the extra mile.

Since his diagnosis on November 11, Ollie has had only three months off chemotherapy. His journey began with a severe headache, progressing rapidly to an urgent flight to Brisbane via the Royal Flying Doctor Service, which the Miles family has since supported through donations. Additionally, they have contributed much-needed items to the physiotherapy unit at the Royal Brisbane Children’s Hospital.

Ollie is not just a fighter; he is a remarkable goal-setter. Everything he has put his mind to in life, he has succeeded in. Last year, he achieved SUNS selection, a significant milestone in his football career. He maintains excellent academic grades, regularly receiving academic awards, and is known as an upstanding student. His determination and hard work are evident in every aspect of his life, and his battle with leukemia is no different.

The support from St Brendan’s College and the Yeppoon Swans football club has been a pillar of strength for Ollie and his family. Continuing his education online, Ollie remains a goal-setter, recently purchasing golf clubs and booking lessons after learning his friends were taking up the sport. During his treatment, Ollie has been cautious about public exposure due to the risks of infection. However, as fate would have it, when he decided to pursue golf, a chance encounter at the golf shop brought him face to face with someone who had travelled a similar path. This serendipitous meeting reinforced Ollie’s belief that what he needs comes to him when he focuses on his goals. Driven by his competitive spirit, Ollie is ensuring he is fully prepared to challenge his mates in a game when the time comes.

St Brendan’s College, Head of Year 11, Niamh Timlin, praised Ollie’s determination, stating, “Ollie is an exceptional young man whose personal drive is truly remarkable. His teachers have gone above and beyond, providing work online and making themselves available after hours to support him. We eagerly await the day we can welcome him back onto school grounds.”

Principal Robert Corboy expressed his pride in the students, saying, “We strive to educate our boys to become well-rounded and grounded young men. The genuine, unscripted support our students have shown the Miles family highlights the strong brotherhood they share. Seeing them step up in such a heartfelt way truly makes our St Brendan’s community proud. The support hasn’t only been shown by students but by staff as well. The SBC community always rallies around their own, and they are doing it again.”

As the Miles family focuses on bringing Ollie home to continue his treatment, the road ahead remains challenging. However, with the steadfast support of the community and Ollie’s own determination, there is no doubt he will return to St Brendan’s and the football field soon.

You can donate to the Miles Family via the go fund me

Year 9 student, Dusty Edwards raised the most money $2055. Liam Van Meijel SBC student and fellow Swans teammate.