Nine-year-old Ollie Elvin and his family have had an incredibly difficult year.
The football-mad Canaries fan was a typically active youngster and a member of the Community Sports Foundation’s football programme, but in May he was diagnosed with leukaemia and the months since have been dominated by intensive treatment and recovery.
Ollie’s mum Emma describes the moment that she knew her son’s situation was serious, which came during a conversation with a nurse at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.
She said: “The nurse came to me and said ‘is your husband (David) still here?'.
“I said ‘no he’s gone home (with Ollie’s brothers)’, and she asked: ‘how long will it take him to come back?’.
“I knew then it was something serious. It was just like being physically punched, that’s the only way I can describe it.”
In that moment, life changed for the Elvin family, but Ollie’s love of being active was going nowhere and on just his second day of treatment he told his parents that he wanted to get up and do something.
In a show of defiant bravery, Ollie began a cycling challenge with his dad, to raise money for the Community Sports Foundation’s Build The Nest campaign and Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust.
Their target was 100 miles, and each night they would cycle for as much as Ollie could manage, which on the most difficult evenings was around a mile and a half.
In early September, Ollie and his dad completed the final mile of his challenge and were cheered home by around 60 friends and family members, having raised over £4,000.
In recognition of Ollie’s bravery, Norwich City Football Club and the Community Sports Foundation arranged a tour of the Canaries’ Colney Training Centre for Ollie and his brothers, with an added surprise of meeting the entire First Team and joining them for their squad photo.
Ollie was also invited to be a mascot for the Canaries, and proudly walked out with defender Christoph Zimmermann before the Sky Bet Championship win over Wigan Athletic at Carrow Road.
A video of Ollie’s Colney surprise can be viewed HERE.
To donate to Ollie’s fundraising page, clic HERE.
Could you follow in Ollie’s footsteps to fundraise for the Build The Nest campaign?
The Community Sports Foundation are aiming to raise a total of £9.4million to create a community sports hub in Horsford that will reach an extra 12,000 people a year.
Canary fans can make a donation, take part in one of the Foundation’s existing fundraising events, or take on a challenge of their own, just like Ollie.
To find out more about the campaign and how you could help, click HERE.