The leading figures in Warwickshire’s technology and gaming industries have come together to create a new digital character to help teenagers diagnosed with cancer.
Representatives from the Institute of Coding, Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, One Health Care and games developers from Leamington Spa have brought their expertise together to create a new online digital character alongside the charity Molly Olly’s wishes.
The character will develop the charity’s work in supporting young people through their cancer diagnoses and treatment by reaching an older teenage audience through an online platform.
Molly Olly’s wishes, which was founded by Rachel and Tim Ollerenshaw in 2011 following the death of their daughter Molly to cancer at the age of eight, provides special treats or equipment to children aimed at making dealing with cancer treatments more comfortable.
The tech experts have come together to develop Olly, who features in the charity’s book series and is also a soft toy mascot with detachable hair, into an online character for teenagers suffering with the disease.
The Institute of Coding is a Government initiative bringing together a network of employers, universities, training providers and professional bodies to create the skills needed for the digital economy. That expertise will help develop the new character alongside gaming designers, CWLEP’s digital connectivity arm and One Health Care, who specialise in digital healthcare.
Louise Phipps, from the Institute of Coding at Coventry University, said she was delighted to be able to help the charity to reach a new generation of patients.
She said: “The work that Molly Olly’s wishes does is so important for young people coming to terms with life-threatening illnesses and provides a really important tool for them to understand and share their experiences with the Olly character.
“Bringing together these experts to help provide their time and knowledge to this has been an incredible experience to be a part of.
Rachel Ollerenshaw added: “This is a fantastic opportunity for a small charity to develop with the help of experts who have very kindly donated their time to help us, which we are so grateful for.
“Alongside all the work we do with helping children to understand their illness, we also fund a consultant in Paediatric Palliative Medicine based at Birmingham Children’s Hospital and in the local community.
“Through all of these different methods, we are able to help support children and teenagers as they live with life-threatening illnesses and we’re so incredibly grateful for the support in expanding this help.”