In March 2016 my beautiful wife Emmy Coates was diagnosed with an incurable and rare form of thyroid cancer. As a complex case her care was immediately transferred to The Royal Marsden Hospital in Surrey, England.
We were so blown away by the staff and the quality of care that she received that Emmy immediately wanted to give something back by fundraising for The Royal Marsden Hospital Charity and in so doing, shining a light on and raising awareness for symptoms of rare cancers in young people.
We began raising money by cycling 2000kms on a tandem bicycle across Europe from London to Copenhagen in June 2016 in an event we called EJTandemonium (www.ejtandemonium.com or search ejtandemonium on facebook). It was a fantastic adventure and by the time we had returned to the UK we were more than half way to reaching our £100,000 target.
As a primary school teacher Emmy was always on the look out for a good quality children's book and it was whilst riding that she came up with the concept that our bicycle and trailer, nicknamed Tara (after the specialist nurse that was looking after her) and Tyrone, could be characters in their own children's story!
The idea was that we could produce and sell a book and a percentage of the profits could help us towards our fundraising target. She would write the stories and i would do my best to illustrate her vision. And so the 'Tara and Tyrone' book series was born.
On our return from our EJTandemonium voyage, we began the first book and completed it just in time for Christmas! It was a great success and was very warmly received by both friends and complete strangers. Emmy and I were over the moon!
Emmy loved teaching and she missed her school and the children that she taught so much. She was desperate to continue to have some sort of contact with and influence on young children and the hope was that we could achieve this by producing high quality children's books with a strong moral message, that were entertaining and interesting for the children and parents alike.
Following the success of the first book we decided to set up Mollivers Ltd, an independent children's book publishing business. The hope was that this would allow us to work from home, work the hours we could spare (when we weren't in hospital) and spend the most amount of the short time that we had together.
Emmy and I produced two books before she passed away. They were 'Tara and Tyrone - Stuck in The Mud' and 'Tara and Tyrone - Pedro The Pump'. However before she passed away she also wrote the majority of a third book and we had also discussed the concept of a fourth. Emmy died on 16th June 2017. Completely distraught, I decided to focus on illustrating and finishing the third book 'Tara and Tyrone - Lost at Sea'. Having that focus was this biggest help and comfort to me.
Emmy's motto was 'Smile, Love and Be Kind'. Three simple actions that resonated with more people than we could have ever imagined. As a way of remembering her, spreading this message and continuing her legacy, the 'Smile, Love and Be Kind' range was created in her memory. The rest, as they say, is history.
I hope that the future can be bright for Mollivers. We will always commit to donating a percentage of profits to The Royal Marsden for the incredible work that they do and i will always keep Emmy's motto at the heart of anything Mollivers does going forward too. Who knows what adventures might lie ahead for Molly and Me, but whatever they are, we'll do everything we can to make Emmy proud.