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Brave Olly waves off cyclists on charity ride

Olly Johnson, seven, surrounded by friends and family forming Olly's Army
Olly Johnson, seven, surrounded by friends and family forming Olly's Army

Dozens of cyclists got on their bikes to raise money for two good causes in honour of a brave Wigan schoolboy.

Family and friends of seven-year-old Olly Johnson decided to use pedal power to celebrate his successful battle against cancer.

Olly with dad Phil, sister Ellie, mum Donna and brother Callum

Olly with dad Phil, sister Ellie, mum Donna and brother Callum

They organised a charity bike ride and cycled from Southport to Abram on Saturday.

The riders had been training for the event and covered around 20 miles on the day.

Olly was there to cheer them on as they set off, before welcoming them back to Abram later in the day.

His attendance reminded all the cyclists why they were taking part in the challenge and inspired them to keep going to help make a difference.

Matt Salisbury with Ella, four, and Adam, seven

Matt Salisbury with Ella, four, and Adam, seven

Among those in the saddle were his parents Donna and Phil Johnson, his siblings Ellie and Callum, and other relatives.

Jane and Ian Cubbin, from Swinley, whose son Josh was treated on the same hospital ward as Olly, also got on their bikes to take part in the fund-raising ride.

It is the second time Olly has inspired people to do a bike ride, after an event last year celebrating the end of his treatment raised more than £3,000 for charity.

This time they were supporting two good causes in his honour.

His mother Donna, from Abram, said: “When we did the bike ride last year it was for Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital’s ward 84, which was where he was treated.

“This year we are doing it for that charity, but also for Kidscan, which is a children’s cancer charity. Olly has been asked to be a patient ambassador for them. We are raising half the money for them.

“They have labs in Salford and are putting money into research into cancer treatment for children. Often they are given adult chemotherapy but less in volume, but they struggle with a lot of them.”

Olly was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia when he was just two years old.

He had complained of leg pain and picked up infections, but doctors initially told his parents he had a viral infection.

He was very ill for the first 12 months after being diagnosed and spent a lot of time in hospital undergoing treatment.

Olly had chemotherapy every day for three years, taking it as medication at home and going to hospital every two weeks.

But in July he finally rang the bell on ward 84 at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, marking the end of his treatment.

He is now in remission and only goes back to hospital every three months for check-ups.

Donna said: “He used to pick up the slightest bug quite easily because the chemo was almost designed to keep his immune system down. He picks up less now and his energy levels have come back.”

Olly is now able to enjoy many activities popular with his peers and is doing well in year two at Abram St John’s CE Primary School. He enjoys swimming lessons, playing football and has joined the Beavers - activities he struggled with while ill.

The cyclists hope to raise £1,000 for the charities and donations are still being collected online at uk.virginmoneygiving.com/OliversBikeRide.