WATERLOO — Some East High School seniors will wear an orange ribbon at their graduation Friday night in memory of former classmate Oliver “Ollie” Palmer.
Ollie died Feb. 16, 2012, two years after being diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, a terminal brain stem cancer.
His mother, Stacy Palmer, said Ollie would have attended East High School and probably would have played baseball there. He would have graduated this year.
“Through the years we’ve been lucky enough to stay in contact with many of his classmates and friends,” she said. “We are grateful to them for remembering him and helping to keep his memory alive.”
Anyone interested in a ribbon to wear for graduation can contact Nick Heinz, who will have them available at East High.
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Ollie was born on July 11, 2001, in Waterloo. He attended Head Start Preschool at Lincoln Elementary School and from kindergarten through third-grade at Edison Elementary School. During his third-grade winter break, he was diagnosed with brain cancer after experiencing balance issues and double vision.
Due to the illness, Ollie attended Fred Becker Elementary School during fourth- and fifth-grades, and received home visits from teachers. He loved baseball and continued playing Little League after losing some mobility and balance, which caused him to wear an eye patch. He taught himself how to play the piano and took up archery after he lost other physical abilities.
Family members remember a sensitive boy who had “amazing faith for someone so young.” He was a baptized member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
His family focused on making memories during the time they had together, including a Make-A-Wish trip to Florida. He was the oldest of four, including sister Eden and brothers Jaren and Phineas. Thorin Oliver was born after he died.