Warwick Rotarians hear how a children's charity continued to help people through the pandemic

Rachel Ollerenshaw started Molly Olly’s Wishes to help other children and families deal with serious illness and facing the unthinkable loss of a child

Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 4:19 am

Rotarians at the Warwick Rotary Club recently heard how a children's charity continued to help people throughout the pandemic.

Rachel Ollerenshaw from Hatton updated the club at their Zoom meeting last week about her charity 'Molly Olly’s Wishes'.

It is now 10 years since her daughter Molly lost her five year battle with cancer in 2011.

Rachel Ollerenshaw from Hatton updated the club at their Zoom meeting last week about her charity 'Molly Olly’s Wishes'. Photo submitted

Rachel started the charity to help other children and families deal with serious illness and facing the unthinkable loss of a child.

During the pandemic families have found themselves isolated, and the charity was fortunate in having opened an office in Swan Street where staff could work, whilst Rachel was based at home.

Demand for support continued but fundraising was curtailed.

People and organisations across Warwick, Leamington and Kenilworth have also been organising online events and raising money to help enable the charity's work to continue.

Molly Olly’s Wishes has three main areas of focus; wishes, Olly the Brave and Magnolia House at Birmingham Children's Hospital.

Wishes

The charity arranges more than 350 wishes a year, that is 40 a month, which took some arranging under lockdown conditions.

Examples include providing a hot tub for a child undergoing chemotherapy; a Wendy house for a two year old who couldn’t be taken to a play area, a fish tank for another house bound child, and vouchers for a teenager.

The team also provided emotional and financial help to other children and families facing a terminal or life threatening illness made worse by services being closed down.

Olly the Brave

Rachel’s first book and therapeutic toy lion with a Hickman line and removable mane is made available to children in hospitals to help them understand their diagnosis.

A range of books has now been produced explaining, in children’s terms, chemotherapy and getting better, with one for siblings and another on bereavement helping families deal with being left behind.

They are given free to those who need them but can also be purchased. Rachel reported the books and toy have helped children return to school and explain what has happened to them.

Magnolia House at Birmingham Children’s Hospital

Magnolia House was kitted out and furnished by Molly Olly’s to give support to families during treatment, and it helps professionals understand how to care with children at 'end of life'.

Funding was sourced for a palliative care paediatrician working in the community, and this has now been taken on by NHS enabling sick children to be treated at home.

After hearing from Rachel in 2019 President David Brain chose to nominate the charity for our fundraising this year.

Thanking Rachel for her presentation the President said that the club has already donated £500 this year, and hopes to be able to add to this. Morrison’s in Leamington are also raising money for them in July,

The Royal Priors Shopping Centre in Leamington also have a collection box, and to find out more information go to: www.mollyolly.co.uk