Money and support continue to pour in for a brave four-year-old girl from Ellesmere Port battling cancer.
Olivia Phillips’ fight against hepatoblastoma – a rare malignant liver cancer occurring in children – has caught the eye of the Ellesmere Port community.
Olivia has spent the past two months in Liverpool’s Alder Hey Hospital, undergoing bouts of chemotherapy to treat the disease.
The toddler, from Little Sutton, is having nodules in her lungs shrunk before an operation can be performed on her liver to rid her of the cancer.
No date has been proposed for that surgery, and her parents Louise Ashcroft and Jon Phillips, are staying almost full-time in Ronald McDonald house so they are close to their daughter.
Kate Hodgenia, Louise’s best friend, said: “Olivia is a very determined, strong-willed little girl, who’s not taking this lying down.
“Whenever people visit her, she has a smile on her face.”
Among those people who have been to visit her included Everton Football Club, with manager Roberto Martinez popping in to say hello to Olivia on the squad’s surprise festive visit to Alder Hey Hospital before Christmas.
Among the latest fundraising efforts include an event where up to 100 horse riders are planning to canter 10 miles down the Wirral Way in a ‘Hack 4 Hope’ to help Olivia. The event was to be held last month but was postponed due to bad weather.
In addition, Charlotte Dujardin OBE, Britain and the sport’s most successful dressage competitor, sent the four-year-old’s parents a picture of herself in action on her mount Valegro, which raised £500, adding to the £20,000 already amassed for Olivia.
Dad Jon, 40, has put his plumbing and electrical business temporarily on hold while he focuses his efforts on his daughter, with all fundraising going towards mortgage payments, and a holiday to Disneyland for Olivia and her family once she is well enough to travel abroad.
Olivia, who has two brothers, Ryan, six, and Liam, 14, needs a feeding tube to get the food and water she requires.
Dad Jon posted to the Olivia's Story Facebook page: "Louise, liam, ryan, olivia and myself would like to thank u all for your continued support through this constant struggle to get on top of all this. We take each day as it comes and continue to pray that we/she will have the strength to carry on to beat this horrid horrid disease. Thank u all from the very bottom of my heart. Jon (olivias dad) xxx."
And in another emotional post mum Louise said: “Feeling stressed. Disturbed sleep, my poor little girl. When is this going to end?”
Meanwhile, a pencil sketch by notorious prisoner Charles Bronson entitled Loonyologerphobia, depicting a man’s head attached to a robot, raised £250.
Kate added: “There are a lot of Charlie Bronson’s friends and family still in Ellesmere Port, and it’s really kind of him to help Olivia.”
Bronson, now known as Charles Salvador, has spent 40 years behind bars, 36 years of that in solitary confinement. He was originally jailed for an armed robbery in Little Sutton in 1974.