Heartfelt offers of friendship for ailing Mosgiel girl

Small talk: Olivia McLay gets a visit from her new friends, 8-year-old twins Amelia and Ezra Eady...
Small talk: Olivia McLay gets a visit from her new friends, 8-year-old twins Amelia and Ezra Eady, of Dunedin. Photo by Dan Hutchinson
"To my friend Olivia, love from Amelia" said the small card beside the gift of a stuffed monkey.

Last week The Star told people about Olivia McLay (9), a Mosgiel girl suffering from a rare, terminal disease who needed more friends.

Amelia Eady (8) and her twin brother Ezra were just two of the many children who offered to visit Olivia and on Tuesday they were reading her stories and giving her presents.

Olivia's mother Donna McLay and The Star have been flooded with offers of friendship for Olivia over the past week, receiving about 60 emails, letters or phonecalls.

"It has been overwhelming for me," Mrs McLay said.

She said people had been leaving small gifts for Olivia and donations of food and she was now working out how to get back to all those who had contacted her.

"It is amazing how many people are out there willing to help."

Some of the messages of support were from children, and one girl's mother wrote this explanation to accompany her daughter's personal letter to Olivia.

"When I picked her up from school on Friday, your paper was on her seat in the car, so she picked it up and started to read.

"She went really quiet and when I asked her what she was thinking, she said it was so sad for Olivia to be alone with no friends."

Mrs McLay said she would reply to all of the emails sent to The Star but apologised if anyone had been missed out.

She would make a list of all the children who wanted to visit and arrange visits.

She said Olivia learned to recognise people's voices and she was really happy about the visits she had had so far.

Olivia has been diagnosed with metachromatic leukodystrophy, a disease that affects the nerve endings and the brain.

There is no cure and it is not known how much longer she will live.


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