Ollie's story

Tasha and James tell us how they remember their son Ollie as their brave little boy.

“Ollie was born on 30 June 2014 and was a character from day one. He could light up a room with his huge smile and bright, green eyes.

“Ollie loved attention – he would shout at any passers-by until they looked at him so he could wave. He had everyone wrapped around his little finger. When we said ’it's bedtime, Ollie’, he’d give us 10 kisses in a row as he knew we’d let him stay up longer.

“He loved football – he called it a ‘gong’. Everywhere he went, Ollie would point and say ‘gong, gong’ and then he would want us to hold his little hands to help him walk so he could kick the football. Naturally, this could go on for hours.”

An unexpected diagnosis

“Ollie was a normal, healthy little boy, but after an ear infection that wouldn’t go away, we saw our local doctors several times. We knew something wasn’t right with him, but it took several trips for us to be referred to a paediatrician. At that point, we felt we were finally being heard.

“Our world changed forever when, during an ultrasound, the doctor said he saw a lump that was most likely cancerous. We never imagined hearing that news. As Ollie’s ultimate protectors, we felt helpless to protect him.

“On 6 June, we arrived at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) with mixed emotions. We were scared for Ollie but knew there was no other place we’d rather he be looked after. The following weeks were taken up with biopsies and countless scans and tests. It was more than we ever thought we could bear to put our precious boy through.

“Ten days later, we were given the news that we never wanted to hear: Ollie had a high-risk neuroblastoma (a type of cancer that affects the nerve cells) and would need a year of intense treatment.”

Undergoing treatment

“Ollie's cancer had spread to his bones and around his jaw. He had various infections and needed regular blood transfusions. Seeing Ollie in so much pain was unbearable. 

“Ollie responded well to the first rounds of chemotherapy. After six weeks, we were allowed home between treatments.

“In November 2015, tests devastatingly showed that Ollie’s bones hadn't responded, and he deteriorated quickly. The last five weeks of his life were spent at home together, enjoying some lovely, happy times with him. We visited the zoo, and we took him to parks and farms, which all became so much more special. 

“Ollie had been so brave and happy – he never complained and he was so much braver than us. Our beautiful boy taught us so much and we’re so lucky to have had Ollie in our lives. We really are the proudest parents. The nurses called him ‘Ollie the Brave’ to reflect his total bravery.”

Why we fundraise

“Every year, 100 children are diagnosed with neuroblastoma. Some children are luckier than Ollie and their diseases are treatable but many aren’t. We believe in research and have helped to fund a research project to fund treatments and cures for rare neuroblastomas. We don’t want any other family to go through what we did. We’ve already raised almost £120,000 through Ollie’s Brighter Future Fund, which we set up in his name. This has given us such a positive focus and we’re so proud of him. We know that his legacy will have a really important impact on others.  

“The whole of our community have got behind Ollie’s Brighter Future Fund and have been incredibly supportive. We’ve had a summer fete, and we have people running the London Marathon and lots of adrenaline-based activities, among other amazing things.

“We’re so proud of Ollie and we’ll always remember him as ‘Ollie the Brave’. We know his legacy will live on and that his impact on the world doesn’t stop here.”