Nine-year-old cancer patient surprised by his Norwich City heroes following outstanding fund-raising feat
PUBLISHED: 17:39 13 December 2018
Norwich City Community Foundation
A determined nine year old cancer patient, who defied expectation by cycling 100 miles to raise thousands for sick children, was treated to a life changing surprise by his footballing heroes.
Ollie Elvin, of Turnham Green, Dussindale, was diagnosed with leukaemia two days after announcing he planned to complete an adult triathlon to raise money for the Norwich City Community Sports Foundation.
The youngster’s mother Emma Elvin said the news sent the family into a “whirlwind of emotions and worry” as they learned to navigate a world of hospital visits and aggressive cancer treatment.
A keen athlete, Ollie was used to sport-packed weeks and football games every weekend with the Thorpe Rovers under 10s team and his father, David Elvin, said it was tough seeing his strength decline as he underwent a course of muscle wasting medication.
From swimming or playing football and tennis everyday, the youngster was left too weak even to climb the stairs and doctors said it was likely he would be left wheelchair bound for the duration of the treatment phase.
Mr Elvin said the family was forced to accept a “new normal” in which holidays were off limits and hospital wards became “homes away from home”.
Despite the tough circumstances, the family found ways to carry on with everyday life.
The father-of-four said: “You have mixed days and everyone asks how you cope but really it’s straight forward - you get up everyday and deal with it.
“You do as many normal things as you can. We couldn’t go on holiday so instead we let the boys pick three special day trips each so we had nine great days out.
“Yes some days are really rubbish but others can be really good.”
It soon became clear Ollie would not be well enough to complete the triathlon, but determined not to let his illness hold him back, the nine-year-old made a vow to cycle 100 miles over the six week summer break.
The plucky lad took to his bike every night, some evenings completing a mile and on his best smashing a whopping nine.
Despite doctors warning the medication might leave Ollie wheelchair bound, he hit his 100 mile target, raising nearly £4000 for Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge and NCFC’s Build The Nest appeal.
As a token of appreciation for his efforts, the fund raising superstar and three of his three brothers were invited to meet the first team at Carrow Road and were given the chance to explore the stadium.
As well as getting a behind the scenes look at the players’ changing rooms and manager’s office, Ollie spent time with his idol, Norwich City defender Ivo Pinto, who visited the stadium on a day off to meet the nine-year-old.
Mr Elvin said: “None of the boys had any idea what was happening. When we went outside and the players were all there clapping him his mum was in tears.
“Ollie has always been a superstar and its amazing how good things can come out of a really difficult time.”
The icing on the cake came when Ollie was invited to be a first team mascot, joining defender Christoph Zimmermann on the pitch before NCFC’s home win over Wigan Athletic.
Mrs Elvin said: “It was so heart warming to see others be proud of him too. He’s had that support from the Foundation, which has meant that he’s wanted to keep going.”
Looking forward, Mr Elvin said the outlook was bright.
After Christmas the resilient youngster will enter his final stage of treatment, which his dad said was likely to be less aggressive than previous phases.
Continuing their support for the NCCSF, the family launched a second JustGiving campaign, raffling a haul of signed Norwich City kit, donated by the club.
Mr Elvin said: “It’s been a real journey but finally there’s light at the end of this very long tunnel.”
To support the campaign visit JustGiving.