Otter mascot fighting cancer with laughter

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Published: Oct. 29, 2022 at 12:37 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - An independent mascot is expanding his mission to bring smiles and joy to cancer patients across the Carolinas. He calls himself Olly the Otter, a six-foot mammal that hosted his first ever ‘warrior event’ on Friday.

“Olly the Otter is all about children who are battling cancer or other serious illnesses… when a child’s childhood gets taken away, Olly comes in and is that healing-through-play,” said Brittany Ballentine, wife to Olly’s puppeteer.

For three years strong, Olly has delivered light and hope to children battling cancer across the Carolinas. The otter services 44 families under the blanket of his 501(C)(3) nonprofit.

“It’s so rewarding to see these families see some light and some hope… parents have told me over and over again, ‘I haven’t seen my child smile like this, or play like this, in I don’t know how long,’” continued Ballentine.

Friday’s warrior event was designed as a trunk-or-treat for families either battling cancer or in full remission. One of the ‘warriors’ in attendance was Lilly Broughton of Lexington.

“I was sitting on the [hospital] bed. And the doctor and my dad said to me, ‘you have a bump in your head.’ I knew what that meant. But I didn’t really know what that meant,” said 15-year-old Broughton.

The aspiring ballerina was diagnosed with a brain cancer called Medulloblastoma at age eight. Despite the diagnosis and subsequent fight, she praises God for a full remission by age nine.

“Just, always have God on your side. I’m just so grateful and so thankful that I can be here tonight. And I love you all. I love Olly the Otter. I love the cancer families and I’m so happy to be here tonight,” concluded Broughton.

Olly the Otter is currently a nominee for the national Mascot Hall of Fame. To potentially vote him in, click here.

You can follow Olly across all platforms at @ollyottersc.

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