A CHARITY set up in memory of an eight-year-old Hatton girl has marked World Book Day today by launching the latest in its series of therapeutic books for children with terminal or life-limiting illnesses.
Olly The Brave Back at School and The Wibbly Wobbly Tummy, published this week, is the third chapter in the story of the Molly Olly’s Wishes mascot lion as he copes with the next phase of his illness.
Three thousand copies have been printed which will form part of the Olly the Brave packs, which also contain a toy lion with its own Hickman line and detachable mane.
The charity was founded by Rachel and Tim Ollerenshaw following the death of their daughter Molly in 2011. Molly was diagnosed with a rare kind of kidney cancer five years earlier at the age of just three, after becoming ill during a family holiday.
Despite undergoing several operations and extensive treatment, throughout her battle with the illness, Molly got involved with work to help improve the lives of other children with cancer, including narrating an Ardmann Studios short animated film designed as a guide for coping with radiotherapy.
Having gained charity status in 2012, Molly Olly’s has so far helped more than 1,500 children from newborn age to 18 by granting individual wishes.
But it’s the charity’s adopted mascot Olly The Brave around which the books are based. The latest instalment aims to ease the transition for children who have been in and out of hospital for a long period of time and are struggling after treatment, to return to as ‘normal’ a life as possible.
They will be distributed to hospitals across the UK but can also be applied for online.
All the books have been written and illustrated by artist and author Diane Maybey from Warwick, the first two even earning a Highly Commended accolade by the British Medical Association Patient Information Awards.
Diane trained as a primary school teacher, specialising in children’s literature and the creative arts and worked therapeutically with children for a learning disability charity, as a foster carer and in various teaching and therapeutic roles. She now works as a therapeutic consultant at Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
She said: “I get a great sense of reward when children, families and professionals feed back that the books have helped them through some of the most difficult experiences. It brings me relief to know that the books are with children, helping them to make sense of their experiences.
“I’m committed to children’s emotional health so I greatly value the opportunity to support children to express and find support with their feelings.”
The final three books will all be available next year.
Charity trustee Rachel Ollerenshaw said: “Diane has now worked with the charity for a number of years and both her academic work and first-hand experience working with children with life-limiting conditions has meant that she has produced three very useful and meaningful resources. We are very grateful for her collaboration.”
Visit www.mollyolly.co.uk to find out more information about the charity, to donate, or apply for a copy of the book.