Teenager who underwent 'gruesome' treatment to fight back from brain tumour eyes £100,000 fundraising target

A teenager who underwent ‘gruesome’ treatment to fight back from a brain tumour is hoping his latest charity drive will see him hit his target of raising £100,000 to help others.
Fundraising superhero Olly McKenna with parents Jason and Jill.Fundraising superhero Olly McKenna with parents Jason and Jill.
Fundraising superhero Olly McKenna with parents Jason and Jill.

Oliver McKenna, 13, was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour called a medulloblastoma, two years ago.

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

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

Fundraising superhero Olly McKennaFundraising superhero Olly McKenna
Fundraising superhero Olly McKenna

Olly’s mam, Jill McKenna, said: “I’m a radiographer and at the time worked at the Freeman Hospital.

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

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“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.”

But despite all he has endured, Olly, from Bill Quay, has his set his sights on helping others, and hopes to raise £100,000 for Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Charity and two of its charitable funds, the Great North Children’s Hospital Foundation, ward 4/14 based at the RVI, and Charlie Bear for Cancer Care which supports the Northern Centre for Cancer Care at Freeman Hospital.

To mark the start of 2020, Olly is holding a fundraising ball with the hope it will push him over the line and see him reach his dream of £100,000 for his fundraising page Team Olly,

The event, ‘100k and Call it a Day’ will mark the end of a charitable journey for Olly and his family after two years of fundraising which has seen him raise £88,000 so far.

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Olly’s wish when he was 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.

Olly’s fundraising has not gone unnoticed over the last two years, with the teenager winning numerous awards for his work, including the Shields Gazette’s Best of South Tyneside Child of Courage award 2019.

Team Olly’s ‘100k and Call it a Day’ charity ball will feature a live band, drinks reception, disco, raffle and auction to push it over the £100,000 mark.

The charity ball takes place on Saturday February 1 at Hilton Gateshead, with tickets priced at £40 and can be bought at this link. To donate to Team Olly, visit his Just Giving page.