Caring supporters of one of the area’s best-known charities have been ensuring it gets its ‘five a day’ this summer.
A bunch of events has taken place on behalf of LoveOliver, the group inspired by the story of brave Leven tot Oliver Gill.
Baby Oliver was born in 2010 with a rare and aggressive form of childhood cancer and, despite a brave battle during treatment, in which he captured the hearts of many people, he passed away on Christmas Day that year, aged just five months.
Parents Andy and Jennifer, however, did not want the legacy of their special wee boy to fade and, with help from family and friends, founded LoveOliver to fund research into childhood cancer and offer practical support for families affected by it.
To date, the campaign has gathered over £250,000 and contributed over £100,000 to research.
This year marks a signficant period in memory of little Oliver.
It’s really nice to see new people finding out about LoveOliver, supporting us, and being inspired by his story.Jennifer Gill
Last Friday would have been his fifth birthday – and a commemorative cycle run was held, covering 75 miles of the Coastal Path, by 36 riders all wearing special ‘LoveOliver’ jackets.
A special theme of the fundraising exercises this summer has been ‘High5 LoveOliver’ – in which supporters are invited to stage events in which the number five is central, such as donating £5, running five miles for five days, taking part in groups of five, or any other ways they can think of.
Friday’s trek began at the Forth Bridge around 6.50 a.m. – the time of day Oliver was born – and continued to the Tay Bridge, with some riders doing a 30-mile option to Blacketyside Farm near Leven.
Mum Jennifer, a religious studies teacher at Waid Academy in Anstruther, said a target of £5000 had been set for High5 activities but the total gathered was just over £9500 from the various events, which was a magnificent response.
“The cycle total makes up around £6500 of this, with more to add,” she said.
Andy (31), a maths teacher at Glenwood High School in Glenrothes, was among the cyclists taking part, along with event organiser and LoveOliver ‘charity champion’, Danny Byrne, charity ambassador Graeme Lundberg, and Oliver’s hospital consultant, Dr Mark Brougham.
“For many of them, it has involved taking a day off work, arranging childcare and getting ready to cycle further than they have done before,” said Jennifer and Andy on Facebook.
“But they have done all this to celebrate five years of our gorgeous boy Oliver’s life and legacy and, for that, we are very humbled and very grateful.”
Jennifer told the Mail afterwards: “It was a real privilege to see everyone doing this for him, and to see them in the Love Oliver tops was pretty special.”
Jennifer, who turns 30 next week, added: “It’s really nice to see new people finding out about LoveOliver, supporting us, and being inspired by his story.”
Participants in a ‘baby ball’ at Bayview danced their way to over £1470, while Oliver’s brothers, Micah, three, and Rory, one, were among those taking part in a ‘non-walk’ over the Forth Bridge, in which entrants had to find ways of crossing the famous route without walking.
Details of the appeal and how you can support it are at www.loveoliver.org.uk or facebook.com/loveoliver