By Kathryn Dick

The equestrian community has rallied around the family of courageous toddler, Olivia McCord, who was diagnosed with leukaemia after battling sepsis that resulted in her tragically losing many of her main limbs.

In January, the three-year-old was rushed to the Sick Children’s Hospital, in Glasgow, after she was seen to be struggling to breathe and the family noticed a large lump emerging from her neck.

The toddler was moved to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit, where ongoing tests diagnosed she had severe sepsis. With Olivia already fighting for her life, doctors later discovered that the she had underlying leukaemia.

With treatment underway to help keep her alive during her sepsis battle, some of the drugs resulted in the closing off blood to the peripheries and surgeons were forced to amputate the limbs that were failing to receive circulation, including Olivia’s left hand, fingers on her right hand and both legs below the shin.

Following her amputations, Olivia began recovery in intensive care for many weeks and, once stabilised, the team of doctors then looked to treat her leukaemia.

The toddler was moved to the Schiehallion Ward – for children who are diagnosed with cancer – where she was fitted with her first prosthetic legs. Olivia has since began her cancer and physio treatment, and although battling a life-threatening illness, she has never lost her happy spirit and love for life.

With Olivia’s parents, Samantha and Lloyd, engulfed in supporting their daughter, friends of the family have started a crowdfunding page to raise funds to support the toddler and her family, with supporters raising an outstanding total of £33,381 so far.

As well as the crowdfunding, close friend of the family, Emma Ballantyne, Lawmarnock Farm, Kilbarchan, and Edwina Carruth has also organised an auction and prize draw to encourage more funds to be raised for Olivia.

“As a friend of Olivia’s mum, I wanted to do something to help take some pressure off the family during this difficult time. Myself and a few other friends came up with the auction and prize draw idea and, through word of mouth, have received immense support from so many people,” commented Emma.

“We are trying to raise as much money as we can for Olivia to cover the cost of all her upcoming treatments and equipment, as well as ensuring the family can afford to make house improvements for Olivia to come home to – we want to make sure she can have the best life possible.”

With Olivia having a love for all things equestrian, Emma has been grateful for an abundance of prizes being donated, including riding lesson vouchers, equine photoshoots, a month’s free livery and training and also a covering by international eventer Gemma Tattersall’s stallion, Wicked Z, with a lesson for up to three people at her yard, in Brighton.

“Once people hear of Olivia’s story, everyone is extremely keen to help in any way they can. We have had some fantastic prizes donated from both the farming and equestrian community,” she added.

The auction is scheduled to take place online on August 22, with the prize draw being separated in two parts to will be held in the first week of September.

“With the exceptional prizes on offer, we are hoping to raise more than £5000 for Olivia and her family but whatever the amount that we do raise will be much appreciated,” Emma said.

“Olivia has been an absolute warrior and we will continue to support her family and help her overcome this battle.”

*If you would like to donate to Olivia’s crowdfunding appeal, please visit: or to participate in the auction and prize draw please visit: