Hollie's tragic cancer story

A wonderful four-year-old

Hollie was a wonderful, vibrant four-year-old who wanted to get as much done as she possibly could every day of her short life. It all started in early 2002. Hollie had a very bad attack of the chicken pox – you couldn’t put a pin between them. She never really regained full health after that, suffering from throat infections and sore lips. The last outing Hollie ever had was on July 6, 2002. It was her auntie’s wedding and she was a bridesmaid and was thrilled with the ringlets she had had put in her hair for the occasion. She did her best to enjoy the day, but she was visibly tired and subdued. Two days later her throat was swollen, her mouth blistered and she was generally very poorly. Hollie was taken to the doctor’s twice that week. On the first visit we were told she had a virus and on the second, Hollie’s mum, Debbie, insisted on a blood test. She was booked in for one two days later.

Two hours after the blood test, leukaemia was diagnosed

Two hours after the blood test Debbie received a call from the doctor telling her to get Hollie to the hospital immediately because she had leukaemia. We were all devastated and in total shock. Over the following three weeks Hollie got progressively worse. The treatment was going wrong and hospital staff couldn’t understand why. The blood test that confirmed Hollie’s leukaemia was taken on July 15. Hollie passed away on August 11, 2002, aged four years, seven months and 22 days. She suffered two massive brain haemorrhages after having an allergic reaction to her chemotherapy which had resulted in all her organs closing down, one by one.
Holly sits on the laps of her grandparents.

Fundraising for the Hollie Leukaemia Research Appeal

Just two months after having lost Hollie, I had organised our first fundraising for the Hollie Leukaemia Research Appeal. It was very hard, but I did it with the help of family and friends. So many people have helped us. In February 2005 the International Mediums of Psychic Private Eyes on TV, Colin Fry and Tony Stockwell, donated one of their shows to Hollie’s charity. They gave us £12,000 and an extra £717 was collected in buckets as people were leaving. Colin and Tony have continued to support us. To date The Hollie O’Brien Leukaemia Research Appeal has donated over £27,000 to Children with Cancer UK. I continue to look for new ways of raising money in Hollie’s memory.
Holly's family fundraise in her memory.

How you can help

If you’ve been touched by Hollie’s journey, help us invest in the high quality research that really matters which would otherwise go unfunded. This helps to support children with cancer so they can be with their families for longer. Donate Now       Fundraise Here

Have you or a family member been affected by childhood cancer?

Many of our supporters have been affected by childhood cancer – either through family, friends or their own personal experience. These patient stories can help inspire others to get involved with us, or can support our media work. If you have a story that you would like to tell, please contact us by email.
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