I’ve just heard about a local charity Molly Olly’s Wishes who support children with terminal and life threatening illnesses across the UK. The work they do is really inspirational. After gaining its charity status in 2012, the charity has so far helped more than 1,500 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.

Founder of the charity Rachel Ollerenshaw said, “In doing the wishes the one thing I hadn’t anticipated is how grateful people are and how they want to fundraise for you in return. As we grow and provide more wishes, more families want to help the charity.

We know that little things can have a big impact and that time spent with family is priceless. Any request for a wish is discussed with families and the relevant health care professional to ensure that it supports the child as much as possible.”

Support for children

As well as the wishes there is also a delightful range of children’s books written to support the children coping with their diagnosis and treatment. 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 in March click this year, helps children who struggle after treatment to return to a ‘normal’ life.

The charity’s mascot is a therapeutic toy lion called Olly The Brave who has his own Hickman line and a detachable mane that helps to explain and normalise the hair loss that comes with many types of chemotherapy. These form part of an Olly the Brave pack that has now been handed out to 40 hospitals across the UK along with a book Olly The Brave And The Wigglys.

Origins of Molly Olly’s

The story behind the charity is heartbreaking. Molly Olly’s Wishes was officially born in September 2011, driven by a Rachel and Tim Ollerenshaw’s desire to keep their daughter Molly’s memory alive after she sadly died from a rare kind of kidney cancer called a Wilms tumour. The families time in and out of hospital showed them how support for families with seriously ill children was desperately needed.

Rachel said, “We take massive comfort from helping other children and their families in their dark days and that keeps Molly in all our hearts.”

The charity has come a long way in eight years, and this year marked its £2 million fundraising milestone, of which Rachel and Tim are justifiably proud. 

One of the charity’s proudest achievements came in April last year with the funding of the first Molly Olly consultant in paediatric palliative medicine at Birmingham Children’s Hospital. 

Rachel said: “The hospital did not have a palliative paediatrician and had been trying to get funding for the post for some time. This is a massive achievement for a small charity like ours.”

How to Donate

It is easy to donate on the Molly Olly’s JustGiving page.

Or you can send a text donation by:

Text: 70070 MOLL01+ £10 to donate.

Find out more:

To find out more information about the charity or how to help or donate visit: https://www.mollyolly.co.uk

Follow Molly Olly’s on twitter