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The most simple gestures often, I’ve found, no matter who it’s from, were the most helpful for us. Just to know that someone’s looking out for you.

Real Stories

Harry and Ryan: The simple things can be the most helpful

“The most simple gestures often, I’ve found, no matter who it’s from, were the most helpful for us.”

When Ryan’s son Harry was diagnosed with cancer, he was appreciative of the support he recieved. As soon as Harry was able to leave hospital, he turned to supporting other families the he knew were still there and began fundraising.

Harry was for all intents and purposes a normal, happy kid. Then in January 2014, he started having headaches and vomiting.
~ Ryan

After visiting the doctor and making a trip to hospital, we were told it was probably a virus, but the symptoms continued.

We went and got the MRI and it turned out he had quite a large brain tumour that had wrapped around his brain stem. Three hours after that he was in hospital being operated on.

Harry had his head cut open and they cut the tumour out, but it took another 10 days before we found out that the tumour was actually benign.

Because of where the tumour was, Harry couldn’t walk, he couldn’t sit up, his eyes had become crossed, he could hardly talk. He couldn’t do anything for about three weeks, and we weren’t sure if that was going to get better or not.

Even though Harry’s tumour was found to be benign, the effects of his operation meant months of rehabilitation. It was pretty tough.

Every time he moved, he vomited, and that went on for several months. He couldn’t do anything for himself, and he had to leave hospital in a wheelchair. Harry also had to undergo two rounds of eye surgery after his initial operation. 

I think the biggest thing we took away was that while it’s a traumatic thing for a couple of months, we’re very lucky.

We met other families going through longer, more difficult treatments. While it was tough, it really opened your eyes to what’s out there and how lucky we actually were.

It gives you a bit of perspective.

The hospital staff were a vital support to me and my family from the very beginning.

It’s a whirlwind. One minute you’re really upset, then you’ve got one doctor going one way, another doctor doing this test – your head’s spinning.

But those nurses just came in and made sure Harry was alright, and Mel and I were alright.

I remember when we arrived in hospital they were also given a Redkite Red Bag – a diagnosis support pack containing practical items and information.

We’ve still got the Red Bag and we take that on picnics – we still use that all the time. It’s a bit of a badge of honour.

I choose to remember it as a happy thing now that Harry’s OK .

As soon as Harry was able to leave hospital, my mind turned to supporting the families I knew were still there, and I began raising money for Redkite through activities like the Western Sydney Ironman.

I felt we were lucky – there’s so many people worse off than us, and I thought I’d better help them.

It’s often the simple, most direct actions that are the most helpful when families are going through a cancer diagnosis.

A message or a phone call – the simplest things can be so helpful when you’re in that situation.

Getting that Red Bag, or having someone there to talk to when you’re going through the worst thing in your life – just those little things really helps. The most simple gestures often, I’ve found, no matter who it’s from, were the most helpful for us. Just to know that someone’s looking out for you is amazing.
Ryan

After Harry left hospital, Ryan wanted to help other families that were still there. Here’s how you can help.

Challenge yourself and those you love to support you.

Fundraise for Redkite

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