THE founder of a Warwick charity for children with terminal and life-threatening illnesses is appealing for donations following the cancellation of planned fundraising events due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It is estimated more than £50,000 in proceeds will be lost to the charity which has still vowed to continue its work behind the scenes granting wishes for when lockdown is over.
Events wiped off on the charity’s calendar for the next three months include the Kenilworth Rugby Club Charity Lunch and Molly Olly Raceday at Warwick Race Races in March; an Easter egg collection for hospitalised children in April; a fundraising ball in Worcester in May, and a charity golf day in Wythall in June as well as lost proceeds from London Marathon runners on April 26th and Velo cyclists on June 21st.
Molly Olly’s Wishes was established in 2011 following the death of Rachel and Tim Ollerenshaw’s eight-year-old daughter Molly from a rare kidney cancer.
The charity works to support children with terminal or life-limiting illnesses and their families and help with their emotional wellbeing as well as grant wishes and donate therapeutic toys and books to both children directly and to hospitals throughout the UK.
Having gained its charity status in 2012, the charity has so far helped more than 2,000 children from newborn to age 18 by granting individual wishes. They may take the form of equipment to help a child live day to day with their condition; an alternative therapy treatment to complement traditional medicine, or even a special occasion or day out.
Mascot of the charity is a therapeutic toy lion called Olly The Brave who has his own Hickman line and a detachable mane which helps to explain and normalise the effects of chemotherapy. These form part of an Olly The Brave pack that has now been handed out to more than 40 hospitals, along with a book from the charity’s exclusive Olly The Brave series.
There are now three books in the series, all written and illustrated by local author Diane Maybey. The first two were Highly Commended by the British Medical Association at the 2017 Patient Information Awards, and the third instalment, published last year, helps children who struggle after treatment to return to a ‘normal’ life.
Part of more than £2m raised by the charity to date, has also been used to fund the first Molly Olly consultant in paediatric medicine at Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
Some 30 children a week in the UK are given a cancer diagnosis, and more are told that they have a life-threatening or terminal illness in one form or another. Many of these, especially those diagnosed with leukaemia will be under five years old.
Rachel Ollerenshaw said: “Like everyone, Molly Olly’s Wishes is feeling the effects of the isolation due to the Coronavirus. For us the key thing is being able to support children and their families who faced challenging circumstances before the outbreak due to a serious illness and are now extremely vulnerable.
“Many fundraising events have been cancelled that provide the Charity with much-needed funds at a time when additional help for these individuals would be welcomed and help to alleviate some of the emotional and financial stress.
“We continue to grant wishes although supply of some items has been more difficult and our usual Easter Egg donations to children across the region that has been supported by local companies has been unable to go ahead. They may seem small things but these gestures mean a lot, particularly at a time of great uncertainty.
“We are looking at increased ways to help. These are worrying times, we need to pull together, support the most vulnerable. If everyone reading this made a small donation if could make a big difference.”
Further information about Molly Olly’s Wishes or how to donate can be found at: www.mollyolly.co.uk or contact Rachel on 07747 854914.
Read Molly’s story here