A charity set up in memory of a Hatton Park schoolgirl who died after a five-year battle with cancer has reached an impressive fundraising milestone.
Molly Ollerenshaw was just three years old when she was diagnosed with Wilms tumour and fought bravely against the disease until she died aged eight in 2011.
Having spent a large part of those years in and out of hospital, Molly’s parents Rachel and Tim realised that many of the patients they met did not have the emotional or financial support that they had for Molly and her siblings.
Molly wanted to help these children and so Molly Olly’s Wishes was born.
And this month, at its annual ball, the charity announced that its fund-raising total has now surpassed £1 million.
Rachel, who co-founded the charity with Tim, said: “In September 2011 I stood up at a ball that had been organised by my friend and Molly Olly volunteer, Lainey Pugh and talked to the guests about our experience with Molly and dealing with her illness.
“The ball had been intended to help raise funds to support Molly in her last days and other local charities but sadly Molly lost her battle in June that year.
“Whilst at that time we were not exactly clear of what we wanted to achieve we just knew we had to help other children in that situation, and so Molly Olly’s Wishes was founded.”
Having gained its charity status in 2012, Molly Olly’s Wishes now helps children aged from newborn to 18 by granting individual wishes, supplying therapeutic toys and books to hospitals across the UK and helping with one-off projects.
Rachel said: “Molly’s life may have been far too short but in her eight years she has helped create something that can, in a very simple way, benefit so many other children and their families and make a very real and genuine difference.
“The charity provides approximately 250 wishes per year and the Olly the Brave packs are in 35 hospitals.
“It is a real honour to be able to help and that would not be possible without all those who so kindly donate money or time.
“For us as a family, it is a very special way to remember Molly and all those brave children like her.”
This year’s Molly Olly Ball was held at the Dallas Burston Polo Club near Southam.
More than 500 people attended the surprise-filled Bollywood-themed event which raised £51,000 for the cause.
There was a personal video message from the ‘King of Bollywood’ himself Shah Rukh Khan and the entertainment for the evening was provided by Britain’s Got Talent act Signature and the Eternal Taal Bhangra entertainments team.
For more information visit www.mollyolly.co.uk