The family of a Buckingham man fighting a brain tumour have launched a campaign to raise thousands of pounds for his treatment.
Oli Hilsdon, 26, was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2014 and given just 12 to 18 months to live.
From that moment, Oli’s family say he has battled on, with unwavering positivity, raising £60,000 for charity and running the London Marathon.
The Cambridge grad, who attended Bourton Meadow Primary school and the Royal Latin, has shown his determination in proving his doctors wrong, and fighting beyond the time afforded to him in his prognosis. But Oli’s fight continues.
With the help of his family, and the community in Buckingham, Oli’s mum Jayne hopes they can raise £230,000.
The fundraising page has been live for under a week and, already, more than £13,000 has been raised.
The money raised will be spent on a cancer vaccine, known as DCVax-L, which is not available through the NHS but offers Oli and his family a chance at improving his condition.
Jayne said: “Until you get into this world, until someone in your family, that you love, is diagnosed with a brain tumour you just don’t really know because It's not talked about.
“I can understand that because it's not a nice thing to talk about, but we need to because research is desperately needed, so that treatment, like what we’re trying to arrange for Oli, can be more accessible.”
“He’s been so positive, but it's such a blow when it comes back and Oli has done so much to raise money for the charity. Now he needs support himself, which is why I've set up the gofundme.”
Unwilling to let his condition slow him down, Oli went back to working full-time after he completed the London Marathon and plans to marry his fiancée, Gigi, next year.
Jayne explained how hard it is to express how proud she is of her son. She said: “He's an incredible young man; there's not been one complaint despite being told he didn't have much time left.
“He's 26 now but he'll always be my child, we just want to help him as best we can.”
Brain Tumour Research, based in Milton Keynes, are so grateful to Oli for his fundraising efforts, which funded 22 entire days of research, and pledge their support in this next leg of his journey.
Sue Farrington Smith, chief executive of Brain Tumour Research, said: “Oli is a brave and courageous young man who has tackled the challenge of his diagnosis and its effects with true grit. He is an inspiration and we are full of admiration for him.
“The diagnosis of a brain tumour is devastating for the patient, their family and friends. It is also devastating for the clinicians and surgeons who have very few options available to treat brain tumour patients, many of whom do not survive beyond five years.
“Researchers throughout the country are desperately trying to find the solutions, whilst families desperately try anything to help their loved one, to defy the inevitable and keep them with them.
“Oli is trying a pioneering treatment - a vaccine called DC Vax-L, which is not yet available on the NHS. It is a tough reality that his family has to fundraise to pay for his treatment and they are blessed to be surrounded by a community determined to help them and through the knowledge that will be gained as to how he reacts, bringing hope to Oli and future patients.
“Brain Tumour Research is determined to change this situation. We are building a network of experts in sustainable research at dedicated Centres of Excellence whilst influencing the Government and larger cancer charities to invest more nationally.
“We want a day when there is a cure and treatments are available on the NHS. We are fighting to get there.
“Oli is surrounded by a loving family, supportive colleagues and friends and we are strengthened in our resolve to find a cure. Your support for their appeal will give them hope and show you care.”
Over the next few months, Buckingham residents will be looking for ways to contribute to the campaign and help their friend and neighbour.
Jack Knowles, 13, has gotten the ball rolling, offering to run 10k in April to raise funds for Oli. You can read more about his efforts at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/jackknowles.
Alternatively, head to www.gofundme.com/olisfight to keep up-to-date with the fundraising and read more about how you can get involved.
What is Wear A Hat Day?
Wear A Hat Day has raised over a million pounds since it was launched by the charity Brain Tumour Research nine years ago, and caps off Brain Tumour Awareness Month in March.
Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.
To get involved, or donate, please visit: www.wearahatday.org or text HAT to 70660 to donate £5.