About the Charity



The Olivia Hodson Cancer Fund was established in memory of Olivia Hodson who was two and a half years old when she died in April 1996. Olivia had appeared healthy until her second birthday but was then diagnosed with a malignant germ cell tumour. The death of a child is a devastating loss and to watch your child suffer pain through treatment is extremely traumatic. We set up the OHCF to support projects that would help other sick children and their families in the future.

Over the last 13 years, thanks to the generous support of many friends and family, the fund has raised more than £1,000,000 to support projects and staff at Great Ormond Street Hospital and the neighbouring Institute of Child Health. The fund has supported a wide range of initiatives including clinical research projects, parental support programmes and palliative care and pain relief. The work funded has often been in areas that have been unable to access larger grant-giving organisations.


Olivia died on the 18th April 1996 and we were devastated. After a brief period of remission she had been found to have brain secondaries and these were inoperable. The death of a child is unimaginable and certainly profoundly changed both Alan and I forever. We were fortunate to have our dear son Tom and a year later our lovely, precious daughter, Lucy to help us through our grief. We were also incredibly lucky to have wonderful friends and family. The kindness and care we received was humbling. We will never stop grieving but the charity has been a positive and helpful achievement out of something so sad.

Establishing the charity in 1997 with the help of the late John Pritchard (Olivia’s consultant), we were determined to help paediatric cancer care at GOSH and elsewhere. The care and attention which Olivia received was outstanding, it had been a very traumatic 7 months but at no point did she show fear at entering GOSH, in fact she used to skip in!  We quickly realised GOSH was a special place and had exceptional staff. GOSH consumes vast quantities of public and private money because it has to, simply to offer the continued excellence in care. Setting up the charity helped us in our grief and has certainly been a positive influence on our lives. We feel passionately that specialist paediatric centres are vital and that they must be maintained.

However we could not have achieved so much without our dear family and friends. Alan and I are overwhelmed by the support we continue to receive. This is an opportunity to say THANK YOU!  I would also like to thank my son Tom for putting this website together for us.


Our fund raising committee work tirelessly and with great enthusiasm to put on events from the early fundraisers of sponsored bike rides around Richmond Park (1998, 1999) to the Sponsored walk along part of the Camino de Santiago in 2006. The Committee comprises Allie Fitzpatrick, Shelly Peat, Susannah Jackson, Suzanne Thomas, Jo Mackenzie, Sarah Peacock and Danni Lawson. They are a brilliant team and I am indebted to them.

The Award committee of professionals who help us determine the best projects to fund are from GOSH, ICH and outside institutions:

Phil Ancliff MA MRCP MRCPath - Consultant in Paediatric Haematology at GOSH (Chair)

Henry Purcell MD MRCP - Consultant cardiologist at the Brompton Hospital

Judith Kingston FRCP FRCPCH BSc - Oncology, GOSH

Helen Kempliski  - Research fellow, ICH

Allie Fitzpatrick - Fundraiser

Owen Williams - Lecturer, ICH

Gemma Williams - Secretary to the fund

All of these people give their time voluntarily and this allows every penny raised to go to the charity. The first projects invested modest amounts of money, as the charity grew, we have been able to support larger schemes. The fund has supported a wide range of projects from “pump priming” research projects to clinical research projects in many different areas. Typically we have funded areas that have struggled to access larger grant-giving organisations. Project funding has ranged in size from £5,000 to £120,000 during this time.

I was asked recently why we bothered to continue to do this whole “charity thing”... The answer is simple it keeps the memory of our dear daughter alive, it helps others suffering from this dreadful disease and in the future we will find out the causes of all cancers and how to prevent them. These things give us some comfort and motivate us.

Christiane Hodson, September 2008