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Abandoned at Mary Bridge Children’s as an infant: Ollie’s incredible journey

Brave, tough, fighter — these words only begin to describe six-year-old Oliver “Ollie” Strode.

By Kortney Scroger

Chapter one: Ollie’s first home

Brave, tough, fighter — these words only begin to describe six-year-old Oliver “Ollie” Strode.

Ollie was born with a variety of complications. Initially, he was diagnosed with a condition called Hydrops Fetalis, which is extreme swelling caused by fluid buildup in the organs and tissue. This diagnosis has about a 10 percent survival rate for the first 24 hours after birth. Ollie quickly beat those odds and survived his first day.

What happened next would change Ollie’s life forever. Ollie’s biological parents abandoned him at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital. Filling this void, his nurses, doctors and staff became his family, and Mary Bridge Children’s became his home for the next three and a half months.

“When I first met Oliver, he was teeny tiny,” Mary Bridge Children’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) Nurse, Molly Olsen, says. “He didn’t have any family visiting, so all of the nurses loved to go and snuggle him. He had this very sweet spirit about him from a very young age.”

Shortly after Ollie’s transfer from Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) to PICU, Dave and Sarah Strode became a part of Ollie’s story.

“I will never forget first walking into his hospital room and the nurse encouraging me to pick him up,” Sarah remembers. “I sat down in a rocking chair with him in my arms and we locked eyes and I started crying and knew he would be my son.”

After surviving Hydrops Fetalis and spending nearly four months in the PICU, Ollie went to his new home with 24-hour oxygen support, a feeding tube, a cerebral palsy (CP) diagnosis, craniosynostosis, two holes in his heart, a horseshoe kidney and a calendar full of upcoming surgeries.

“When Ollie survived and recovered from his heart surgery, then his 12-hour craniotomy, we thought he had survived his most difficult challenge, Sarah says. “But, we were wrong.”

Read the second chapter of Ollie’s story

Lifesaving care for kids like Ollie at Mary Bridge Children’s is made possible by community donations. Your gift today helps children in your community, like Ollie, receive the care they need regardless of a family’s ability to pay. Learn more at