Dancer struck with bone cancer does 4-mile walk raising funds for Ability Bow therapy gym
- Credit: Tony Snook
A choreographer and professional dancer struck down by incurable bone marrow cancer has managed to walk four miles in a 5k race through Victoria Park raising desperately-needed funds for his therapy gymnasium.
Albie Ollivierre completed yesterday’s gruelling course in the annual fundraiser for Ability Bow rehabilitation gym after being in a wheelchair for 14 months, helping to raise £1,000.
Albie, who trained as a dancer in the 1980s and worked and taught at venues like Sadler’s Wells and the Royal Opera House, was in hospital seven-and-a-half months with multiple myeloma cancer.
But the determined 57-year-old from Old Ford Road in Bow, began developing his physical strength again, taking on long-term one-to-one exercise sessions at the gym and home physio, progressing to walking unaided after using sticks.
“I doubt I’d even be here if it wasn’t for Ability Bow’s trainers,” Albie says. “Sometimes I need a stick to aid walking after hospital treatment—but being able to walk again unaided if I want to is amazing.
“Many people feel lost and isolated when diagnosed with cancer, but this gym removes that feeling and gives you hope confidence to feel empowered. It’s been life-changing.”
Albie helped raise the cash on Sunday, having already taken part in two previous annual fundraisers in the park since joining the gym in 2014.
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He has pulled in £2,000 from his personal wellwishers in three events, donated for a new one-to-one therapy service at the gym in St Stephen’s Road, a short distance from his home.
Ability Bow founder Victoria Kent said: “His remarkable achievement is vital to increase public awareness and funds to keep our service going which we believe can keep communities fitter and stronger for longer.”
But Ability Bow, which helps 400 disabled people into exercise each year with many referred by NHS hospitals and GPs, relies on public donations, after being marred by a series of funding crises since 2007.
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Today it runs therapy for people with conditions like Multiple Sclerosis and cancer, aids those recovering from stroke or serious accidents with tailored physical exercise and emotional support and also provides activities to support those with hearing impairments.