Beds, Herts & Bucks

Ollie Gardiner: Cancer teen's family donates treatment funds to research

Ollie Gardiner Image copyright Gardiner family
Image caption Ollie Gardiner died in 2017 from a brain tumour

A man who promised his dying teenage son he would find a cure for the type of cancer he had has donated nearly £200,000 to help fund research.

Ollie Gardiner, 13, died on 19 November 2017 after suffering a relapse of a brain tumour.

His family fundraised hundreds of thousands for treatment and now, after settling all medical bills, are using it to fund a postdoctoral researcher.

His father, Peter Gardiner, said Ollie "trusted" his family to find a cure.

"On the day he relapsed he looked up at me from his bed and he said 'daddy, what if we don't find a [clinical] trial?'," said Mr Gardiner.

"I said 'don't worry mate, we'll find something, I'll sort it'. He trusted me and I find that very hard."

Image copyright Gardiner Family
Image caption Ollie and his father Peter

Ollie, from Aston Clinton in Buckinghamshire, was diagnosed in May 2015 and went through 10 cycles of chemotherapy and 34 sessions of radiotherapy before his cancer came back in September 2016.

Doctors said the tumour was "incurable" and, despite the family raising about £500,000 to pay for pioneering treatment in the UK and Germany, Ollie died two-and-a-half years after his initial diagnosis.

Mr Gardiner said despite the passage of time Ollie's death was "still a long long way from being processed".

"It's two years now since his death, I still think 'oh I must mention that to Ollie', sometimes I've been know to lay places at the dinner table for him."

The family decided to donate £187,000 to the Brain Tumour Research charity "to do the best by the people who raised the money and do something for Ollie's memory".

"There are many tough aspects of this but [one is] not being able to say thank you to every single one of [the fundraisers], because we don't know who they are," Mr Gardiner said.

Mr Gardiner said that from those funds they had also given financial help to two other children.

"One of them was in the same position Ollie was, they had relapsed and were told there was no more treatment available, and they are now free of cancer," he said.

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