Born with just half a heart, 2-year-old Oliver De Borde was not expected to live past his first birthday.
Little Oliver lives with brain damage, is non-verbal and has limited mobility. Oliver’s condition is terminal, and his parents, Justin De Borde and Beth Stimson, are making the most of the time they have left with their boy.
The family was thrilled to take a week-long trip to Tennessee through the Make-A-Wish program. Justin and Beth packed everything they might need for Oliver and his 10-month-old brother Grayson into their car for a much-needed getaway.
After a fun week of making cherished memories, Oliver and his family began the drive home to Ocala, Florida.
But after stopping overnight in a hotel, the family woke up to find their vehicle had been broken into, and everything inside was gone.
“Enjoyed our trip for a whole week,” De Borde told WOFL. “On the way back, stopped in Macon, Georgia, about four hours from here, and went to bed and then woke up the next morning. Everything was gone.”
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With the hotel staff and police unable to identify a suspect, there was a slim chance that Oliver’s parents would ever see their belongings again.
“All of our souvenirs, our double stroller, all of our bags, our clothes we packed,” De Borde said. “We pack heavy because the last time we went on a trip, Oliver spent almost a month in the hospital.”
Stimson was particularly disappointed about losing the double stroller, an expensive and necessary item her family relied upon regularly.
“He can’t hold his head up. He has limited muscle strength, so having a stroller that leans back a little that you can’t sit forward and flop over is important,” Stimson told KOCO-TV.
Stimson was also sad to lose baby clothing that she cherished, knowing that one day, the tiny pieces of fabric would be a tangible memory of her terminally ill boy.
“For example, maybe he wore an outfit for the Fourth of July,” Stimson said. “I’ll remember that outfit for the rest of my life. I have photos of him in it. So, a lot of his clothes have more sentimental value.”
The family is taking the loss in stride, knowing that ultimately, they still have what matters most: one another.
“For something like that to happen to us on a trip specifically made for us to make as many memories as possible, it hurt, but we grow from it,” De Borde said.
De Borde started a GoFundMe campaign, asking for $800 dollars to replace the items stolen from their vehicle.
In a heartwarming response, community members gave over and above what De Borde set to raise, leaving encouraging messages of support for the young family.
Oliver’s parents were left feeling that even in the face of injustice, the kindness and compassion of people outweighs the unjust.
“It shows there’s more in this world than everything we always see. There’s more good than anything,” De Borde said.
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