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Brave Strood schoolboy Oakley Orange returns to class five months after being diagnosed with Stevens Johnson Syndrome

By Jenni Horn

Brave Oakley Orange beams happily as he returns to school after bouncing back from the brink of death.

It is a very different picture from five months ago, when the seven-year-old was fighting for his life after an allergic reaction to medication.

Oakley was given just a 65% chance of survival as the skin condition Stevens Johnson Syndrome (SJS) affected his internal organs, leaving him unable to breathe on his own, and battling hypothermia and a lung infection.

Oakley Orange all set for school
Oakley Orange all set for school

Oakley spent three months in a specialist burns unit as he lost all of his skin, toenails and hair.

But, after a long and difficult fight, Oakley, of Empire Road, Strood, has been finally able to rejoin his classmates at Bligh Junior School in Strood.

Oakley can only attend lessons for an hour a day, two or three times a week because he gets tired so easily. But mum Lorraine said he was more than happy with that.

She added: "He has been so excited about going back to see his teacher and his friends. He loves science, maths and art.

"He can't do PE yet but I asked him if, when he does, he will be worried about getting undressed in front of the other children and he said 'no mum, it just shows the journey I have been on'. He just takes it all in his stride."

Oakley and his two sisters and brother enjoyed a day out at the Sweeps Festival in Rochester at the weekend.

Mrs Orange said: "I got a bit tearful because it was just so nice to see him doing normal things."

Little Oakley was left fighting for his life after a reaction to medication
Little Oakley was left fighting for his life after a reaction to medication

When Oakley first became ill, friends set up an appeal to help the family with travel costs to and from the hospital in Essex where he was being treated.

Now they are hoping to raise enough money for Oakley, his and dad and sisters Tilly, six, and Maisie, 13, and brother Ellis, 12, to go Disney World in Florida.

Fundraisers have included a five-a-side football tournament, fun day, raffle and last month 10 friends and family took part in a skydive which raised more than £2,000. Almost £12,000 has been collected so far towards the trip.

To donate to Oakley's fund, visit www.gofundme.com/5vguvk.

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