Calgary

Calgary boy with rare digestive disorder gets 3-minute shopping spree in toy store

Oliver Hamilton has hollow visceral myopathy, but you wouldn't have known anything was wrong on Wednesday

David Bell - CBC News

September 27, 2017

Watch Oliver race through the store to pick out his favourite toys  1:00

Oliver Hamilton had a plan. The 10-year-old was recently picked for a three-minute shopping spree in a toy store through a foundation that works with children with severe medical conditions.

"I made a map and I did two practices," Oliver said Wednesday after the spree at the CrossIron Mills Toys "R" Us, just north of Calgary.

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"It helped me figure out where things were, so I know where to get everything."

Oliver Hamilton said a map he prepared in advance made the shopping spree much easier. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

Oliver has hollow visceral myopathy, his father Thomas Hamilton explains.

"His digestive tract doesn't move properly. It takes food anywhere from three days to a week to fully move through his body, so he can't get enough nutrition in," Thomas said.

"He is supplied through an IV overnight, he gets nutrition overnight. It causes him a lot of discomfort and pain and bloating, so each day is a different challenge for him."

Wednesday's shopping spree was a welcome surprise.

"This is like 10 Christmases rolled into one for him," he said.

Oliver Hamilton, who has a digestive disorder called hollow visceral myopathy, had three minutes to fill several shopping carts with all the toys he and his family could gather on Wednesday. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

3 minutes goes by fast

A spokesperson with Starlight Children's Foundation Canada says it's a family affair.

"The child runs with carts filled, with siblings, his mom and dad. They run with him. Everybody has got a cart. His job is to grab all his favourite toys," Captain Starlight said.

"They have got three minutes flat. It's really tight, and three minutes goes by fast when you are running in a store this big with so many toys. He will fill carts and carts and carts."

Oliver said he got pretty much everything he was looking for.

"Mostly Nerf, because I think Nerf battles are really, really fun," he said with a smile.

"There is a bobblehead that my friend really, really wanted and I forgot to grab that, but I could probably buy it for him for his birthday."

Oliver's mom, Madeleine Hamilton, says her son's condition has been a challenge for the family.

Madeleine Hamilton, Oliver's mom, says his condition has been a challenge for the family, but they are managing it. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

"He was born a month early and we knew right away there was something wrong, we didn't know what it was," she explained.

"When he was about six months old, he started having problems with his intestine. He's always had problems with his bladder.... He had his surgery to remove his colon, he had a tube put in his tummy, he had a central line placed, but it doesn't slow him down. He is in pain a lot of the time, but he's pretty good at dealing with the pain.

"He eats for fun, he doesn't eat for nutrition, so he doesn't eat a lot. He spent pretty much his first two years in the hospital."

Oliver, who was told he won the draw about a month ago, says the news was incredible.

"I was laying on the couch when I found out. I swing myself off the couch and I ended up jumping up and down, and eventually I knocked over a bowl and sent stuff flying," the young man said.

"Yeah, I am tired," he said once the dash was complete, surrounded by many carts of toys.

Oliver Hamilton loads a Nerf gun into one of many carts, as part of a three-minute shopping spree on Wednesday. The 10-year-old has a digestive condition called hollow visceral myopathy, which requires IV feeding every night to get nutrition. (Monty Kruger/CBC)
With files from Monty Kruger
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