Posted by Devenia Besant on 15 May 2018

Superhero Fun Day and sponsored walk, Sunday 20th May 10.30 to 3pm @ Poole Road recreation fields, Ewell.

This year is the 4th superhero walk and fun day and I spoke to Terri Lovis – the creator of the event to fill us in on how it all started, here she gives us an honest account why:

Our oldest, Ollie, was 2 ½ when he was first diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma, a form of cancer. He was so accepting of everything that he went through, so caring towards the other sick children he came across and had such a kind soul. He loved animals and the outdoors so we spent a lot of time in parks and exploring nature: we couldn’t attend the soft plays and groups that other children his age went to because of the chemotherapy he was on . He used to love dressing up as superheroes, particularly Spiderman.

When he was ill we were supported by a great local charity called Momentum that started in Kingston hospital. They are now involved in Epsom, East Surrey and St Peter’s hospitals too. Over Ollie’s illness we spent a lot of time in Epsom hospital. The playroom and isolation rooms were old and tired and the environment is so important when children with serious illnesses spend so much of their important time in hospital. Momentum kindly refurbished the playroom, parent’s kitchen and an isolation room at Epsom hospital and continue to help improve the environment for sick children. They also have family support workers who support the families of those with children with life limiting conditions, play therapists, bereavement counsellors, music therapists and much more.

Unfortunately in late 2014 Ollie relapsed. We did not expect him to see his next birthday in May of 2015 and we wanted to plan a positive event to celebrate his life and also to raise money to give back to one of the charities that had supported us so well. Amazingly Ollie was able to attend the first superhero walk and fun day that was held in Non-Such Park. He dressed as Spiderman and although he had to be wheeled around for the walk, he loved every minute. Ready Steady Go Kids did activities for the children and everyone had a picnic. It was low key but raised a few thousand pounds for momentum and we all have happy memories of that day.

Ollie died in July 2015 aged 4. We set up Ollie’s star in his memory. It is a named fund within CCLG charity. We wanted to do what we could to reduce the chances of other families having to go through the loss of a child. Proportionally very little money is spent on research into children’s cancers and the treatments used today can leave long lasting effects on those who survive or are inadequate for those who do not. Ollie’s star raises funds for rarer children’s cancers that often get overlooked for research. Ollie always got so upset hearing other children in the ward crying although he barely cried for himself and we know he would be happy knowing he’s doing his bit to reduce the suffering of others.

The superhero walk and fun day has grown bigger every year. We now split the funds 50/50 between momentum and Ollie’s star. The day is now based at the Poole Road recreation fields next to the Harrier centre in Ewell. It is now a much bigger event. We start with the walk with all our superheroes, princesses and well known characters around Ewell Court Park, where Ollie loved to explore and visit the ducks. Polkadot Parties and London and Surrey Mascots so kindly support us with providing our superheroes and characters – the kids absolutely love them! Then we return to the main field for lots of fun with a large fairground, ready steady go kids obstacle courses, whizz-fit providing dodgeball for older children/adults lots of stalls and entertainment including dancing from Terri- Jayne school of Dance. The family picnic area is still a strong feature but we now don’t need to be so organised as bringing our own picnics as we have amazing yummy food brought to us by the always tasty All Things Nice. This year we also have burgers by RJT entertainments; jacket potatoes and an ice cream van.

We’ve been so overwhelmed by the generosity of local businesses donating prizes for the raffle. We have a family photo shoot by Leanne du Pleissus photography; a Pipsqueeks Party voucher; 10 passes for giggles soft play; Skywalk adventure family experience as well as lots of individual prizes from Usborne books, tropic skin care, hairdressers, pizza express, cinema vouchers and lots more!

Last year we raised over £6500 and we are hoping to top that this year! Most of all we hope everyone has lots of fun on the weekend of what would have been Ollie’s 7th Birthday.

Thank you to everyone who has supported past events, let’s make this one even better.  You can find out more about the day on the Facebook event here.

Devenia Besant
Devenia (Dee) Besant is the founder of Epsom and Ewell Families. Runs a busy household as a mummy of 3 and a wife and some would say crazily committed to helping small businesses and the local community.

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