Marathon running parents have Molly Ollys in their sights - The Leamington Observer

Marathon running parents have Molly Ollys in their sights

Leamington Editorial 7th Apr, 2024   0

THANKFUL parents are hoping to run up a huge total for a Warwick charity close to their hearts.

Chris and Jenny Byrne will be powered on to cross the finish line at the London Landmarks Half Marathon today (Sunday) to support Molly Ollys which helped them through their daughter’s cancer battle nine years ago.

The couple, from Wolverhampton, are running through the capital in aid of the children’s charity that supported them following Rosie’s leukemia diagnosis in 2015.

The charity was established in Warwick in 2011 by Rachel and Tim Ollerenshaw, of Hatton Park, following the death of their eight-year-old daughter Molly from a rare kidney cancer.

During Rosie’s treatment – and following two periods in intensive care at Birmingham Children’s Hospital – Molly Ollys granted the three-year-old a special wish to follow in the footsteps of her favourite character on a guided Paddington Bear tour of London.

The family’s life changed forever just a few weeks after Rosie’s third birthday when she was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.

Jenny explained: “She was fit and well but the day after her third birthday party we noticed she had got a limp which got progressively worse and after a number of tests and scans they couldn’t really work out what the problem was.

“Eventually she couldn’t bear any weight and an MRI scan showed she had lesions through the major bones in her body. They knew then that she’d got a form of cancer but couldn’t determine immediately what type.

“She had no other signs of illness like infections or bruising – none of the classic symptoms you associate with leukaemia. But we were told to pray that it was leukaemia because it’s the easiest cancer to treat.”

Chris added: “It’s like the rug had been pulled from underneath us. Everything came to an end and normal life just stopped there and then. We felt like we were in a black hole. You don’t ever think something like this will happen to you, it always happens to somebody else – but it did happen to us and it was an incredibly hard time.”

A three-year treatment plan got under way immediately, including regular chemotherapy, scans and blood tests. And it was during the darkest of those times that the family found Molly Ollys as Rosie fought for her life during two periods in intensive care – in close succession.

In 2016 Molly Ollys organised an overnight stay and Paddington Bear tour of London for Rosie and her family, including Portobello Market, Paddington Station, the station cafe and London Zoo, which also featured in one of the books.

Today, 12-year-old Rosie has not looked back since ringing the bell at Birmingham Children’s Hospital to signal an end to her treatment in May 2018. She enjoys an active lifestyle, including park runs and playing for her local cricket team. She also took part in last month’s Wolverhampton 10k.

To sponsor Jenny and Chris visit


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