21st Nov, 2019

Ozzybot to help Oscar connect with school pals

Rob George 26th Jun, 2019

A BRAVE Worcester five-year-old battling blood cancer has been able to go to school for the first time in seven months – with the help of a pioneering robot.

Oscar Saxelby-Lee underwent a life-saving stem cell transplant after an appeal brought a record number of would-be donors but he has been away from his school friends at Pitmaston Primary School since he was diagnosed with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, a rare condition which affects white blood cells.

However, thanks to caring fund-raisers at Grace Kelly Childhood Cancer Trust, Oscar can now connect with his friends via the AV1 robot, nicknamed ‘Ozzybot’.

Although he continues his treatment in hospital, Oscar can now interact with his teachers and friends thanks to robot which sends a live video feed to a tablet, allowing Oscar to take part in activities. Video is only transmitted one way – from the robot to the patient.

Oscar has just taken part in school registration for the first time since December 2018 and proud mum Olivia Saxelby hailed the moment as ‘absolutely amazing’.

“Something magical has happened all thanks to Grace Kelly Childhood Cancer Trust. Pitmaston Primary School have received their very own ‘Ozzybot’,” she said. “This means Oscar can engage in classroom activities, in school life and continue bonding with his peers from his hospital bed! Thank you so, so much.”

The AV1 was developed by Norwegian firm No Isolation in 2015. It contains a camera, microphone and loudspeaker and can be moved from classroom to classroom, as well as taken out of school for activities such as a trip or a birthday party.

AV1 has two motors, so it can raise and lower its head, and swivel 360 degrees

Jennifer Kelly, from the trust, said: “We hope in time we will be able to offer this opportunity to more children who are receiving treatment for cancer. Please keep an eye out for more information on this project and the Tesco Centenary Bags voting that commences on July 1.

“It was a pleasure to be so warmly welcomed by Pitmaston Primary and to have a chance to meet Oscar’s friends. The Grace Kelly Childhood Cancer Trust is so pleased we can give Oscar this chance to use AV1.

“We hope it produces plenty of smiles for both him and his friends and give him that vital link back to his classroom.”

Since this campaign has been announced, two more Worcestershire families have made contact asking for similar help.

They are also isolated as a result of childhood cancer.

Visit www.gkcct.org for more information.

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