Ollie is a happy and cheeky chilled out boy who loves helicopters, cars, planes and especially fire engines. He’s a big Fireman Sam and Thomas the Tank Engine fan, and is well known for giving out high fives!
But little Ollie was diagnosed with high-risk neuroblastoma just a month before his second birthday.
Of the 100 children diagnosed with neuroblastoma each year in the UK, around 50 are diagnosed with the high-risk form of the disease. Even if Ollie gets into remission, there is still a chance he will relapse. If that happens his chances of survival drop to less than 1 in 10.
Ollie’s mum and dad, Lucy and Gary, are determined to do everything they can to give him the best possible chance of beating this awful disease. They are starting to fundraise in case Ollie needs to access further treatment not available on the NHS, to either keep the cancer from returning or clear the disease if his frontline treatment doesn’t go to plan.
“We have seen so much support for our little hero already and we really appreciate it! Please keep donating and sharing this journey with us.”
In late November 2018 Ollie’s parents started to notice a change in him.
“He became a very sad child. He was getting very clingy and unsociable – completely the opposite to how he usually is,” say Gary and Lucy, Ollie’s parents. “He stopped enjoying the things he loved doing like going to nursery and swimming. He stopped eating and only wanted to sit watching TV.”
They noticed his skin becoming translucent and his veins being very visible. “His stomach was also very swollen and his belly button bulged out. He was very irritable when it came to changing his nappy.”
They took Ollie to the doctors on many occasions with high temperatures and sometimes sickness. They thought it was just a viral infection and it would work itself out. But after several visits Gary and Lucy insisted on seeing their local GP who immediately referred Ollie to the Paediatric ward at Luton and Dunstable hospital.
Blood tests were taken which found Ollie to be anaemic. But just before he was to be discharged, a doctor asked to feel Ollie’s stomach. An emergency ultrasound was called for and a tumour was found in his abdomen.
Hearing the word ‘neuroblastoma’
Ollie was immediately transferred to Addenbrooke’s hospital. After several days of testing and scans it was finally confirmed on January 9th that Ollie had stage 4 high-risk neuroblastoma.
“He had a tumour in his abdomen around one of his kidneys and another tumour growing behind his right eye, which was pushing on his eyeball. The cancer had also spread to his bone marrow,” say Gary and Lucy.
“We can’t even describe the feelings we felt when we were told. It was quite simply the worst day of our lives. No one can prepare you for it, but we had to accept it and be strong for Ollie. We decided that no one was allowed to cry around him – if we felt ourselves feeling emotional we left the room for a moment and just try to be positive around him.”
Starting treatment immediately
Ollie started chemotherapy the day after his diagnosis and it will be followed by surgery, more intensive chemotherapy, radiotherapy and immunotherapy.
“We are already noticing the difference in him. It’s like we have our old Ollie back. Running around, playing with his cars and wanting to interact with other children once again.”
As Ollie’s family know, high-risk neuroblastoma is an aggressive and complex cancer to treat. The family is raising funds in case Ollie needs to access further treatment not available on the NHS to either keep the cancer from returning – or clear the disease if his frontline treatment doesn’t go to plan.
“In particular, we are interested in having the option of treatments to prevent the high chances of relapse – like the Bivalent Vaccine clinical trial in New York,” says Gary.
Please help give Ollie the best chance of beating this devastating disease.
How you can help
There are many ways you can help Ollie: by making a personal donation; by sharing his story on Facebook, holding a fundraising event; getting sponsored to take on a challenge.
To donate by text, send “OLLIESWEENEY” followed by any whole amount up to £20 to 70085. This will cost your donation plus your standard network charge. It won’t matter if you leave a space before the number, if you include a ‘£’ sign or whether you use upper or lower case.
Download our free Ollie resources below, to support your fundraising.
You can make a donation via this page.
If you’d like help supporting Ollie’s campaign, please get in touch with the fundraising team on 0207 284 0800 and email@example.com.