1 child in every 500 in the UK will develop some form of cancer by the age of 14 and current data suggests there are 1,900 new cases of childhood (0 to 14 years in age) cancer in UK each year. More children are told that they have another life-threatening illness in one form or another. Many of these, especially those diagnosed with leukaemia, will be under 5 years old. Molly Olly’s Wishes has developed a therapeutic toy lion called Olly The Brave and accompanying story books, to help support these children. These are donated free of charge to children either through their hospital or can be requested directly.
When children are newly diagnosed with any life-threatening illness, the shock to both parents and patients is immense. The hospital environment, full of new sights, sounds and smells can be disturbing. They are very quickly thrown into an environment alien to them and have to take in a whole new world of procedures, language and interactions with doctors, nurses and other health professionals. This all has to be done while accepting the diagnosis itself. It is a very frightening and challenging time for all concerned.
Olly The Brave was developed with this in mind, to help with the child’s emotional well-being. Olly the Brave is given to children needing a central or Hickman line, enabling medication to be administered and bloods to be taken without the repeated use of needles. Olly has his own line and also has a detachable mane that helps to explain and normalise the hair-loss that comes with many types of chemotherapy. Several different manes are available reflecting the changes in hair colour and type that can occur when hair regrows after treatment.
As well as Olly The Brave, the Charity has produced six books covering different experiences associated with having a life-threatening illness. The books, which are beautifully written and illustrated by Diane Maybey, tell the story of Olly, his family and friends. The available books are: Book 1 : Olly the Brave and the Wigglys, in which Olly is diagnosed and has his central line (‘Wigglys’) inserted Book 2 : Olly Being Brave and Chemotherapy Book 3 : Olly the Brave Back at School and the Wibbly Wobbly Tummy Book 4 : Olly the Brave for Brothers and Sisters – Ben’s Big Stuff Book 5 : Olly the Brave Beginnings and Endings – Nights of Cuddles Book 6 : Olly the Brave The Colours of the Day – Finding Life after Olly (Please be aware the Books 5 and 6 are of a sensitive nature and cover end of life and bereavement.)
If you have a child with a serious illness that fits our criteria, then we are happy to donate a Olly The Brave and/or any of the accompanying books, to support the child’s emotional needs. Please apply here. Please note that details of your child’s hospital and illness may be requested. Please be aware the Books 5 and 6 are of a sensitive nature and talk about end of life and bereavement – we strongly recommend that you consider carefully which books are appropriate for the current situation your child is facing. We are very happy to provide the books at different times, to fit with your circumstances; for example, your child might have recently been diagnosed and will be having treatment, so Books 1 and 2 would be appropriate, and perhaps Book 4, if they have siblings. At the stage when your child is going back to school, you could contact us and request Book 3.
If you are a health professional working with seriously ill children, we are happy to provide stock for hospitals and community nursing teams. Please complete the form and we will contact you to confirm the details.