Brave schoolboy Olly McKenna has been through more than most adults experience in a lifetime.
After battling through cancer he’s on a mission to raise £100,000 to help others who are going through the same nightmare as him.
And he’s hosting a ball in a bid to raise the funds for children’s cancer charities in the North East and get him past his goal.
Aged just 11, Olly underwent surgery at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary after being diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a malignant brain tumour.
While receiving treatment, he became aware of the limited space and activities available for pre-teens within the Children’s Cancer Ward.
Determined to help others just like him, Olly worked with hospital staff to learn how he could raise money for the ward, and now runs the Team Olly Fund under the RVI hospital’s charity.
Two years on, the 13-year-old from Bill Quay, Gateshead, has raised over £88,000, running a variety of fundraising events and rallying for donations.
And now determined Olly and his family hope to hit their target of £100,000 and then take a well-earned break, after two successful years of fundraising.
The Team Olly – RVI Children’s Cancer Ward Ball is set to be a night to remember, with a live band, drinks reception, disco, and raffle and auction prizes.
All proceeds from the event will go to Newcastle Hospitals Charity, specifically The Charlie Bear for Cancer Care and Great North Children’s Hospital Foundation funds.
Olly, a pupil at Gateshead’s Emmanuel College, said: “I know I’ve left it to the last minute but I still need to sell another 100 tickets to have any chance of hitting my target. I’m really hoping that there are still more people out there who will buy tickets and help me get this over the line.
“The Ball is taking place on the 1st February but we still have a few more seats to sell and we don’t have much time left.”
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Over the past two year Olly has been hard at work with his parents, Jill and Jason, organising a string of events to raise funds.
Included in these are; two Junior Great North Runs, Team Olly Walk from South Shields, band nights, charity party night, Team Olly Ball, Charity Fun Day, Mad Hair Day, zip wire across St James’ Park and the Tyne Bridge, flown a plane and lots more.
And for his brilliant fundraising feats he’s picked up a number of awards including; the Chronicle Champion Child of Courage award 2018, Northern Children of Courage 2018, Brave Heart Award, among others.
Olly, who will need to be scanned for the next five years, added: “My mum and dad have been fantastic. They have put their lives on hold to help me raise funds and I think that if we can just get to my £100,000 target then we can go back to being a normal family again.
“It has been brilliant to be part of so many fundraising initiatives but it is really tiring to be thinking about raising money all the time. I just want to be able to thank all my friends, my family and everyone who has helped. Most of all I want the funds we’ve raised to help other cancer victims become cancer survivors by giving them the best support and helping them get through it.”
The ball will take place on February 1 at Hilton Gateshead, tickets are £43 per person with packages available on request. Tickets for the ball can be bought here.
For sponsorship opportunities or group bookings please contact Paul Wealls on 07791 148474.