Seven year-old’s charity De-Chox steals kind strangers’ hearts

Seven year-old Olivia Rowe has taken on a 31-day De-Chox to raise money for the British Heart Founda

Seven year-old Olivia Rowe has taken on a 31-day De-Chox to raise money for the British Heart Foundation. Picture by Sarah Smart. - Credit: Sarah Smart

A beloved granny’s heart surgery has been the inspiration behind an Exmouth schoolgirl’s decision to give up chocolate for an entire month.

Seven-year-old Olivia Rowe is entering the final week of a 31-day ‘De-Chox’, on behalf of the British Heart Foundation.

Withycombe Raleigh Primary School pupil Olivia chose the charity after her own granny, Julie Rowe, underwent serious heart surgery a few years ago.

As its name suggests, the challenge involves giving up chocolate – no mean feat for a sweet-toothed seven-year-old.

On her JustGiving page, Olivia explains it means ‘absolutely no chocolate bars, no chocolate cake and none of Daddy’s chocolate biscuits’.

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Her dad, Chris Rowe, said he was ‘really proud’ of his daughter’s dedication, with Olivia even suggesting she extend the De-Chox for an extra week.

He added: “I’m really proud of how well she has done and deciding she wanted to do it; we have put no pressure on her whatsoever.

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“We kept trying to tempt her with chocolate, but she wasn’t having any of it!”

Chris said his own mum’s heart bypass surgery had highlighted the importance of raising awareness about the issue to him.

He added: “Heart problems can happen to anybody; Mum didn’t have anything really obvious, but had a problem with her heart. It was quite sudden; she wasn’t feeling too well and the next thing she was taken into hospital.”

Chris also said he felt ‘humbled’ by donations from kind friends and strangers, who had already helped raise more than three times Olivia’s target of £100, with the total on Tuesday standing at £347.

“Some of the people we didn’t know,” said Chris. “It makes you feel a bit humble; they didn’t know my daughter but were still willing to give money.”

To support Olivia in the last week of her challenge visit

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