Ozzie Rogers Sportive raises £12,610 to support Young Lives vs Cancer Homes from Home

The family of Ozzie Rogers from Magherafelt have raised a phenomenal £12,610 for Young Lives va Cancer, by organising a Charity Sportive in his memory on what would have been his 19th birthday weekend. The children and young people’s cancer charity means a great deal to the family as they stayed at both of their Homes from Home in Belfast (Paul’s House and Amy’s House) whilst Ozzie received his cancer treatment.

Ozzie had a huge passion for cycling and playing his guitar. His dad Simon designed a ‘plectrum’ in his memory which became the logo for the ‘ozzie t-shirts’ cyclists wore during the charity cycle.

Ozzie was only 15 years old when he started to feel ill. One Saturday, after a rugby training session, he came off the pitch and said to his mum “that was the best game ever!” But just four days later, he came off the same pitch saying, “I don’t know what’s the matter with me, I just don’t feel very well, I’m really short of breath”. The next morning the glands in his neck were swollen and he had flu-like symptoms. He was very tired, pale, and while the doctors originally suspected glandular fever, the test came back negative.

His parents took him back to the doctors to have his bloods done, and that evening they got a call to say he needed to go straight to A&E. Ozzie was admitted on the 8th October 2018, and the following morning he was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia. Ozzie had to spend the next three months in the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children receiving chemotherapy. The journey from their home was around 50 minutes.


Mum Miranda told us:“We were so very grateful to have access to Paul’s House . It was a short walk through the hospital to its back door and then directly across the road a warm inviting house was our haven to rest, cook food for Ozzie and wash clothing and blankets he wanted from home. My husband and I lived in Paul’s House for over 3 months at the start whilst Ozzie underwent treatment. We spent Christmas day in Paul’s House, with a local pub supplying my family with a beautiful Christmas dinner..”

Unfortunately Ozzie’s leukaemia did not respond as well as hoped. He developed a fungal infection in his lungs, sickness, and constant temperatures. He also suffered moderate heart damage, and lost 17kg in weight.

In March 2019 the family headed to Bristol as Ozzie required a bone marrow transplant and again Young Lives v Cancer supported them. “We stayed in Sam’s House a short distance from the Children’s Hospital. Sam’s House is where we met other families from the UK and made some great friends whilst spending 10 weeks in Bristol. Sam’s House was homely and so well equipped. We felt safe there in a big city. Ozzie’s young brother even came over to stay with us in Bristol. It was no problem, as our room had 1 double bed and 2 single beds. It was so special for us to be all together and spend Easter as a family.”

Within a couple of months of going home from Bristol just few days after his 16th birthday,  Ozzie fell unwell again.  “Paul’s House came to the rescue. The staff welcomed us back, even though happy to see us, they really didn’t want it to be the case of having to stay for the reason we did. Thankfully after a month of treatment we were homeward bound. Life was returning with less trips to the hospital. We were outpatients and the odd time would pop across to say hello to the team at Paul’s House. Always a smile and how are you.”

Ozzie started to enjoy life again, playing his beloved guitar, the house filled with the sounds of Metallica and managed the odd cycle ride. But inMarch 2020.  He was admitted in May and Miranda had to move into Amy’s House just a 5 minute walk from the hospital.

“Amy’s House is another beautifully converted town house so clean, modern, bright and again the familiar faces of Kate & Geraldine. This time it was different with parents staying as Covid was now in circulation. There were some restrictions within the house and we had less interaction with other families which I missed, it meant a lot having space to talk away from the hospital, it really helps. As Ozzie deteriorated through his treatment, Simon decided to be close and move into Amy’s House while I stayed at the hospital. We wanted to be close to Ozzie as he was fighting hard but we received devastating news in August that Ozzie was near end of life and receiving palliative care to manage his symptoms. On the 10th September our precious son so sadly and devastatingly passed away.” 

Young Lives vs Cancer’s Homes from Home which are vital for many of the families and young people the charity support.  The Homes provide families with free accommodation when their child is having treatment and they give them the chance to cook their favourite meals, do laundry, and be together during really difficult times.  Last year. 47 families stayed at Paul’s House in Belfast with the longest stay of 104 days. 48 families stayed at Amy’s House (Young Lives vs Cancer’s second Home in Belfast), with the longest stay being 322 days Young Lives vs Cancer Fundraising Engagement Manager Vicki Ewart said: “I’m delighted to say the event was a great success and I want to thank Miranda & Simon Rogers and all the businesses, volunteers and cyclists that made it a day to remember. Everyone was so generous with their donations. It was great to see a whole community come together to remember Ozzie.

“The family have set up a fund in Ozzie’s memory and I know it means so much to them when they receive a message with a donation and message. In total they have so far raised £14,895 so Young Lives vs Cancer. As a charity as rely entirely on donations to fund our Homes and our vital services team.. The Rogers donation has secured 392 nights for other families.

When cancer strikes young lives we step in to help families find the strength to face everything cancer throws at them. Thanks to everyone who donated and supported the Sportive.”

Mum Miranda said: “My family are so eternally grateful for Young Lives versus Cancer for their support and kindness in looking after us with their social care and providing a “home from home” in Belfast and Bristol. We will be forever grateful”

If you would like to donate and send a message to the family please go to https://funds.younglivesvscancer.org.uk/ozzierogers.  

For more information about Young Lives vs Cancer’s work or to access support, go to www.younglivesvscancer.org.uk

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Love Belfast
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