Olly McKenna planning well-earned break after reaching £100,000 target for children's cancer ward

A teenager who battled back against a brain tumour has reached his £100,000 fundraising target to improve facilities for children in the hospital where he was treated.

Friday, 7th February 2020, 6:37 pm
Updated Monday, 10th February 2020, 1:25 pm
Olly celebrating reaching his £100,000 target at the '100k and call it a day' charity ball

Olly McKenna, 13, from Bill Quay, underwent ‘gruesome’ treatment after finding out he had a malignant brain tumour called a medulloblastoma two years ago and made it his mission to raise money for the Children’s Cancer Ward at Newcastle’s RVI hospital.

A charity ball held at the Hilton Newcastle Gateshead saw Olly pass his long-awaited goal of £100,000.

Mum Jill said: “We had a super time. Olly just wants to help others and he's determined to show people children with cancer can have fun.

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Olly with his parents, Jason and Jill

“As a parent, his grit and determination throughout has been inspirationally outstanding, his mental strength and go get it attitude in both his fundraising and fitness have certainly taught us a thing or two.”

Olly’s wish while a patient was to transform the day room and chill-out area on the pre-teen cancer ward so it was more fun and better equipped for children of his age battling cancer, and began his fundraising to help make that come true.

The charity ball marked the end of Olly’s fundraising journey to reach £100,000 and the family will now be giving themselves a well-earned break.

Over the past two years since he was diagnosed, Olly, who plays for Hebburn Juniors football club, has taken part in numerous fundraising events and won many awards for his efforts, including the Gazette’s Best of South Tyneside Child of Courage award 2019.

Olly with his consultant, Dr Gail Halliday

The illness turned his world upside down, but he faced his battle with bravery and a smile.

Surgeons worked for more than nine hours to remove the cancer, and Olly underwent gruelling courses of chemotherapy and radiotherapy for months.

Mum Jill, a radiographer, worked at the Freeman Hospital at the time.

She said: “I have seen many patients go through treatment but certainly never a treatment regime that was as gruesome as his.

“As a parent, his grit and determination throughout has been inspirationally outstanding his mental strength and go get it attitude in both his fundraising and fitness have certainly taught us a thing or two.”