Creating hope out of heartache

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LEVEN couple Jennifer and Andy Gill suffered the most painful kind of heartbreak imaginable last year when their son, Oliver, died aged just 24 weeks old.

Little Oliver was born with a very rare and particularly aggressive form of cancer and, despite “smiling and thriving” his way through intensive chemotherapy according to his parents, he succumbed to the condition on Christmas Day.

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Since then Jennifer and Andy have dedicated their lives to helping research into child cancer and, since January alone, have raised a staggering £33,000 through their LoveOliver events.

Last week the couple, joined by members of Kirkcaldy’s Newcraigs Evangelical Church, took part in another fundraising venture, a sponsored ‘spacehop-a-thon’ across the Forth Road Bridge.

Jennifer, who teaches at Waid Academy, told the Mail: “We went from north to south – with a break at McDonalds – which was very accommodating of 40 people arriving at once and it put our banner up for us.

“The winning team was treated to McFlurries and we all had our dinner and ice creams and a welcome rest.”

Teenager Abigail Struthers came up with the idea for the space hop which has raised nearly £500 so far, saying that, despite Oliver’s short life, he had “touched her deeply”.

LoveOliver has recently donated £20,000 to a research project into rhabdoid tumours, the type of cancer which Oliver had, and the practical support is aimed towards families at the CLIC Villa and on Ward 2 at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh - which serves the Fife area.

•For more information visit www.loveoliver.org.uk.