A MOTHER whose “strong and determined” daughter has a brain tumour was left overwhelmed when an 11-year-old stranger offered to raise money.
Elloise Smith was left heartbroken when she read about the battle Olivia Alderson, six, who goes to Theydon Bois Primary School, has been fighting for the last four years.
So despite never having met her or her family, she took matters into her own hands and organised a raffle at her school, St John Fisher Catholic School in Loughton, to show her support.
She managed to smash her £100 target by raising £230, which will go towards a clinical trial Olivia is currently taking part in.
Elloise said: “I found Olivia’s story very sad, but also liked the fact that she was raising money for children with brain tumours.
“My mum and dad are very proud of me and my friends and teachers have been very supportive.”
The prizes for the raffle were all donated by Elloise herself and family members. The top prize was a cake modelled to look like a gumball machine, made by her mum, Sharon.
Others included a tree made out of marshmallow, a bar of chocolate and two games – one for a girl and one for a boy.
Elloise, who loves maths, art and drama and hopes to one day become a lawyer, says she is considering holding another fundraiser.
Her dad, Glenn, said: “We are immensely proud of Eloise. She decided completely of her own back that she wanted to do the fundraiser.
“Elloise did absolutely everything by herself with us and the school taking on supportive roles but very much in the background.”
Olivia’s mum, Vicki, a teacher at Theydon Bois Primary School where Olivia is a student, says “the words thank you aren’t enough”.
The 33-year-old said: “It’s so lovely that she decided to do her own thing to help even though we don’t know her.
“It’s so sweet, they’ve never even met. I still can’t believe it when I hear about people raising money for Olivia.
“Never before have we had this, where someone off the cuff has decided to do something for us like that.”
Her family, including dad Cliff, 33, started raising money for Great Ormond Street Hospital, where she is a patient, last year.
But they had no idea at the time that all the money they raised would go towards funding a clinical trial, which Olivia is now a part of.
They took a back seat on fundraising and publicity to focus on Olivia’s care, say they are always grateful for the support.
She has never really had a break from chemotherapy since being diagnosed aged two, and when she failed her last round in October, her family were ready to take her to America for proton therapy.
She ended up starting the clinical trial, which works to dissolve the tumours, in December and the change has been “incredible”.
Vicki, who is also mum to Kristian, nearly three, said: “I questioned the trial because I didn’t know the risks, but she’s had minimal side effects on it.
“I’ve noticed a positive change in her. Academically, as well as her mobility, have all changed so much. She goes to dancing and I can see she really fits in.
“We’ve always told her to get on with it and she does, so I hope she continues to have that sort of attitude.”
Girly girl Olivia is going from strength to strength on the treatment and is looking forward to going to Disneyland in Florida this summer with her cousins.
She hopes to dress up as Belle – her favourite of the Disney princesses.
“I’d actually say her confidence has grown too. She’s now the most normal she’s ever been. I can see such a caring side to her. She plays with her brother now and she’s such a diva.
“Things have been so chaotic but I’m sure it’s made me a better person, it’s toughened me up but in a kind way.”
To donate, go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Teamoliviaalderson