Seven-year-old Oliver who goes by “Ollie” has always been a talented young artist and as he’s grown, his skills have developed too – from scribbles as a toddler to shapes in Kindy and now, master illustrations using markers.
“He’s our Picasso.” says Ollie’s dad, Nathan.
Art has always been a hobby and afternoon activity for Ollie but in the last six months since he was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, it has played a vital role in his treatment for cancer. With a black felt-tip marker in hand and a piece of paper, Ollie can escape from the beeping monitors, drips and tubes that surround his hospital room.
Early last year, an MRI and biopsy confirmed his parent’s fears that Ollie had a tennis-ball sized tumour wrapped around his cochlear and carotid artery, which supplies blood to the brain.
Nathan and Naomi had never heard of their son’s type of cancer, let alone were able to spell it, but the more they learnt over those first few weeks, the sooner they realised they had a long journey ahead of them.
“It’s been a wild ride. Ollie is now 25 weeks into a 62-week protocol, so we have a long journey and we’re not sure what’s ahead of us.”
When Nathan heard about Sydney Children’s Hospitals Foundation’s (SCHF) annual Walk for Kids with Cancer on Facebook, the family were eager to help and raise awareness about this devastating disease.
“It’s so important we shine a light on this illness and a child’s cancer journey. The reality is that’s its hard, really hard, and affects the whole family. Away from the oncology side of it, we’re trying to make Ollie’s life as happy as we can,” says Ollie’s dad, Nathan.
To help share their story and thank everyone who joined SCHF’s Walk for Kids with Cancer on Sunday 26 March 2023, Ollie spent hours drawing a colourful masterpiece, during his latest round of chemotherapy treatment.
“On behalf of Ollie, our family and all of the other children who will benefit from your support, thank you.”
SCHF is thrilled to share that this year’s Walk for Kids with Cancer has raised a record-breaking $511,013 for childhood cancer. Funds raised will be directed to Sydney’s two leading paediatric cancer centres, including the Cancer Centre for Children at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead where Ollie is currently treated.
If Ollie’s story has inspired you to take part in a personal challenge and fundraise, join Team Sydney Children's Hospitals Foundation and go all in for kids’ health at this year’s City2Surf on Sunday 13 August 2023. Registrations are now open.