WHAT WE DO
Our aim is to provide support to children suffering from life-threatening illnesses and their families in the UK.
In an unimaginably difficult situation, we hope to make the dark days a little brighter.
Our main areas of work are:
- Fulfilling wishes by providing gifts to individual children
- Donating our therapeutic toy Olly The Brave and his story books
- Bespoke projects such as funding a Paediatric Palliative Care Consultant, and the furnishing of the Magnolia House palliative care facility, at Birmingham Children’s Hospital
We also run support events for families of seriously ill children including afternoon teas where families can meet and share experiences, an annual ‘Remember Me’ day for families.
Molly Ollys provides gifts for children aged 0-18 who have life-threatening illnesses.
Wishes have an average value of £500 and can be for anything and everything from medical aids and equipment, toys, bedroom makeovers, outside play equipment and garden improvements, days out, shopping vouchers, electronic devices, arts and crafts, funds to help with transport costs etc. Each wish is as unique as the child and our aim is that the wishes help these children through extremely challenging circumstances and provide special memories for those around them.
We give between 350 and 400 wishes per year, to children based across the UK. We’d love to give more, as there are many more children and families who need help, and we are working hard to raise the funds to do so, and to ensure that families are aware that they can apply to us.
You can read more about the wishes we provide here, including how to apply for a wish and how to help us fulfill them.
Our Therapeutic Items
Our founders Rachel and Tim experienced themselves, during their daughter Molly’s illness, that there are very few specifically designed toys and books available for seriously unwell children that meet both objectives of being educational/informative and of providing emotional support. Consequently one of our early objectives after the Charity was established was to develop therapeutic items tailored to the needs of children in this situation.
Olly The Brave is a soft toy lion with a central line (Hickman line, often called ‘wigglys’) and a detachable mane; both features are intended to resonate with experiences that many of these children have. Olly also has additional manes in various alternative colours and styles, as hair often regrows differently after loss associated with treatment.
We have produced a series of six books, written and illustrated by Diane Maybey (therapeutic consultant, author and illustrator), telling the story of the journey of Olly and his family through being diagnosed, receiving treatment and going through various other experiences associated with serious illnesses, including bereavement and life afterwards for the family.
We are very proud that Olly The Brave and his books are now being used in over 70 hospitals and community nursing teams around the UK, including in all the principal children’s cancer treatment centres. We are also delighted that the British Medical Association highly commended the first of our books in the Patient Information Awards in 2017, highly commended and shortlisted the second book for the Innovation Award in 2017 and shortlisted the third book in the 2021 Patient Information Awards.
Molly Ollys is happy to donate Olly The Brave and the books free of charge to hospitals and community nursing teams around the UK for their patients, as well as directly to families with children with life-threatening illnesses, who can request an Olly and any of the books here.
Supporters of the Charity are able to purchase Olly and the books through our online shop.
Together we can help enhance the lives of these very brave and treasured children, and make their dark days brighter.
Support to Hospitals
Paediatric Palliative Care Consultant at BCH
Molly Ollys is honoured to have been key to the instigation of a new senior level post at Birmingham Children’s Hospital by providing funding for the first three years for a Paediatric Palliative Care Consultant. This important post develops the previously existing paediatric services at the hospital by leading the integration of palliative care between the hospital and across the community. For families facing the worst situation, the support that can be provided by joined up care is hugely beneficial, allowing decision-making about end of life care whether at home or in hospital to be less stressful, despite the circumstances. In addition, the seniority of the post is helping drive improvements in paediatric palliative care as a result of it being represented at senior level decision-making within the hospital trust.
During the period Molly Ollys funded the post, the Consultant was directly involved in supporting over 390 families and in a range of aspects of hospital work. The success of the post can also be demonstrated by the NHS Trust decision that the post would be funded on an ongoing basis by the NHS budget. Nationally, paediatric palliative medicine is a young speciality with very few consultants and the Molly Olly’s Wishes Consultant is contributing to the national network, influencing both policy and training. It is worth noting that a significant proportion of paediatric palliative care nationally continues to be funded by charitable means.
Magnolia House at BCH
The first of its kind in the UK and funded entirely by charitable donations, Magnolia House provides a safe-haven for parents and families at their time of need. Named because of the magnolia trees found in the hospital’s garden, Magnolia House sets the benchmark for palliative care across the UK, providing care for children and families living with terminal illnesses or those who have complex diagnoses and need help to understand and control their child’s symptoms. Every year, approximately 120 life-changing conversations take place at the hospital between health professionals and the loved ones of young people. Magnolia House is making a huge positive difference to these families. Prior to the construction of Magnolia House, difficult conversations took place in offices, empty cubicles or playrooms, with parents often moved back out onto the ward before they properly had time to digest what they were being told.
The thoughtfully designed building has three pastel-coloured private counselling rooms, a calming lounge area, a siblings play area and a private peaceful garden where families can sit and reflect. The roof of the building is covered with grass and embedded with twinkle lights to provide in-patients overlooking Magnolia House a scenic and magical view from the windows of the hospital. Molly Ollys is proud to have provided the internal furnishings for the suite, which were all chosen to create a calm, soothing and peaceful environment.
Support events for families
For the families and children facing life-threatening illnesses, one of the very many challenges is the sense of isolation as their wider group of family and friends may find it difficult to understand what they are going through.
Molly Ollys arranges various support events for small numbers of families with seriously unwell children to get together in a safe and secure environment, to share experiences with each other and enjoy some time together. These include afternoon teas and ‘Remember Me’ events. The families tell us that these events are very helpful and enjoyable.
We are extremely grateful to the hotels who support us in hosting these events.
Every donation, whatever size, helps a seriously unwell child
HELP MAKE WISHES COME TRUE
Current data suggests that 12 children and young people are diagnosed with cancer every day, and that 1,900 children under the age of 14 in the UK are diagnosed each year.
More children are diagnosed with a range of other, often rare, conditions and illnesses that are also life-threatening.
Molly Ollys is committed to helping as many of these children and their families as possible, and works hard to raise the necessary funds to be able to help those who contact us.
You can help us do this by making a donation, joining in with our fundraising events, running your own events, using Give as You Live when you are shopping, and by leaving a legacy in your will. Please visit our How you can help page to find out more.