NICFC - Cancer Fund for Children

Events & Challenges

Christmas Appeal – Ollie’s Story - 1st November, 2017

“Within a few hours, my world had turned upside down.  When the Doctors asked to speak to me alone, I knew it was serious.  I can remember the words so clearly.  ‘It’s not good news – your son has leukaemia’.”


Ollie’s Story


Six year old Ollie from Newtownabbey was diagnosed with cancer just over a year ago when he was five years old. Mum Alison Bell described it as the ‘stuff of nightmares’
Ollie in hospital getting treatment

Ollie in hospital receiving treatment

On 18th October 2016, I went to wake my five year old son Ollie to get ready for school just like any other day. But Ollie complained that he couldn’t put his foot on the floor to get up. He was obviously in a lot of pain and crying so I took him to Antrim Hospital to get an X-ray. As I made the journey I was becoming increasingly worried as he had been at the Doctors with a rash the week before and had been losing a lot of weight and looking pale.

Within a few hours, my world had turned upside down. When the Doctors asked to speak to me alone, I knew it was serious. I can remember the words so clearly. ‘It’s not good news – your son has leukaemia’. I had to compose myself before they brought Ollie into the room with me. From there we were transferred to the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children where we stayed for the next five weeks for intensive treatments.

The next stages of treatment were a mixture of inpatient and outpatient treatment which were really challenging. Although we had the freedom of not being in the hospital, the isolation was very hard on Ollie. His behaviour was affected by the intensity of having to stay in the house 24/7 to avoid risk of infection. He missed school, his friends and just being able to be around people.

Cancer Fund for Children’s Specialist Gemma was absolutely amazing and a godsend to both Ollie and to me. She built up such a care relationship with both of us to help us through what has been a very difficult time. Through the dark days of intensive treatment when we were restricted to the house, Gemma’s visit would be the highlight of our day. She would use ‘talking through play’ with Ollie to work through any worries he had and always knew at what point to suggest a therapeutic short break for us if things were getting too much.


Support Children Like Ollie This Christmas


With your support, we can be there for families like Ollie’s so they don’t have to face cancer alone this Christmas.
Ollie with Mum Alison

Ollie with Mum Alison

Our team of dedicated Specialists are here to support children diagnosed with cancer, and their families. They provide individual support on the hospital ward, at home and in their community, giving them an opportunity to discuss their feelings in a safe environment with someone outside their family unit. They can also arrange for families affected by cancer to benefit from some of our other services, including therapeutic short breaks and financial grants.

Christmas is such an important time for families, but for some it can be an immensely painful time, and for those impacted by childhood cancer this is no different. By supporting us this Christmas, you are truly making a difference, enabling us to be there for children with cancer, when and where they need us most.

Cancer Fund for Children receives less than 0.5% of our income from Government funding, so we really rely on the support and generosity of people from across Northern Ireland in order to fund our services for families affected by cancer.


How You Can Support Us


It’s really easy to support us this Christmas. Here’s some of the ways you can make a difference.

Get All Wrapped Up

Why not join in with our festive Christmas Jumper Campaign and wear your Christmas CFC Daisy Lodge. to school or work to raise funds for Cancer Fund for Children?


Please make a donation of whatever you can afford to help us support children like Ollie this Christmas.

Presents for Pounds

Instead of buying Christmas presents for your child’s teacher or doing Secret Santa in work, why not make a donation to support children with cancer instead?


To find out more about how you can support us this Christmas, call us on 028 9080 5599 or email 


Ollie is doing really well now and has started a phase of treatment which is less intensive so he can go out in public now without as much risk. He recently started back to school for the first time since last October. Ollie still has 2 ½ years of treatment left as well as daily chemotherapy. Cancer Fund for Children will continue to support Ollie and Alison through this time.