“It was very emotional for Tim and I seeing the cyclists in their Molly Olly pink tops ride in together to the finishing point to huge applause and a great welcome from family and friends. Knowing why we were there and what everyone has achieved, the difference that it will make for the children we support is truly humbling.”
The emotional words of Rachel Ollerenshaw – founder of Warwick-based charity, Molly Ollys, as 47 cyclists rode into The Durham Ox in Shrewley after three days of a gruelling charity ride covering 185 miles.
More than £70K has been raised by the riders who took part in the Charity’s 10th Anniversary charity cycle ride from York to Warwick which took place on 8,9,10 July. The route was especially poignant for the family as York was one of the last places they visited before Molly died in 2011 from kidney cancer at 8 years old.
The cycling group was waved off by York’s Sheriff Suzie Mercer at York Minster: “I know that for the cyclists taking part, this Charity holds a special place in their hearts. Whilst I never had the pleasure of meeting Molly, I know what a strong and determined young lady she was and so much good has been done in her name over the 10 years that the Charity has been going.”
The route was extremely tough in sweltering heat and with particularly steep hills, but the beautiful scenery helped to keep the cyclists going when they felt they couldn’t go on.
Karen Robbins – one of the cyclists who took part – lost her daughter Leanne 8 years ago to cancer; “I’m not great at words, but I would just like to say how humbling and special the weekend was, I still can’t believe we did it. It was a tough weekend on the hills, but we remember the tough, painful times the kids go through without complaining at the end of their very short lives. Everyone was amazing, there was lots of laughter and lots of tears… brings so many memories of my Leanne.”
Rachel said: “We decided to do this cycle event in 2022 to celebrate 10 years of Molly’s legacy. What a ride it was! It far exceeded our expectations on so many levels. This was a phenomenal team effort with so many highlights. The camaraderie between all the riders and support team made it a unique and very special few days. It was certainly a challenge, but all the riders faced every day head on and looked out for each other and helped their team of riders to complete each day. Thank you to everyone – riders, support team, friends, family and all those who have donated. All the cyclists should feel extremely proud.”
Over the 10 years Molly Ollys has been going, the Charity has helped more than 16,000 children – directly and indirectly – through delivering wishes, its Olly The Brave therapeutic toy lion and books and bespoke projects with the NHS.
Molly’s dad, Tim said; “Each wish we do for a child costs around £500 so £70K is at least 140 wishes – that is 140 children that we can make smile and help make the dark days brighter. This money will help create happy memories for the familes.”
To make sure all of the cyclists were safe and kept hydrated, there were five support vehicles and several sponsors who enabled the event to take place. Huge thanks to Oakland International, SCC, HiB, Risk Evolves, Mills & Reeve, Langham Walsh Accountants, Allen Creative, New Horizons Logistics, Mosaic Island, Advanced Vehicle Contracts Leasing and Affordable Warmth Solutions.
ABOUT MOLLY OLLYS:
Molly Ollys was set up following the experiences of Molly over the 5 years she received treatment for kidney cancer at Birmingham Children’s Hospital. Between 2017 and 2020, the Charity funded Birmingham’s first paediatric palliative consultant as there was no such consultant for the region. That position has now become permanent and is currently funded through the NHS.
The Charity works alongside the NHS to support projects within the hospitals and the community. One key project was the creation and refurbishment of Magnolia House at Birmingham Children’s Hospital. This is a safe, non-clinical space where medical teams and families can have important discussions.
The Charity is well-known for its therapeutic toy lion, Olly The Brave, which has its own Hickman line and a detachable mane. The soft toy helps to explain and normalise the effects of chemotherapy. These form part of an Olly The Brave pack which includes a six-part book series. For more info, please visit www.mollyolly.co.uk