Running for Rio: A Children’s Hospice Mission

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In a heart-warming effort to honour his late son and raise awareness for Australia’s lack of children’s hospices, Ryan Fowler, the founder of Rio’s Legacy, recently undertook a strenuous 980+km journey from Brisbane to Oran Park.

From September 18 to October 3, Fowler ran and biked to raise awareness for the pressing need for more children’s hospices in Australia.

Starting his challenge at Hummingbird House in Brisbane, Queensland’s only hospice, Fowler covered an average of 40km running each day for 12 days and cycled 160km each day for 4 days. Reflecting on the experience, Fowler revealed, “It was a gruelling physical challenge.” He added that managing his Type 1 Diabetes added another layer to the challenge.

“I lost my son Rio to a terminal illness in 2018,” Fowler shared. “My wife, Karen, and I wanted to support families when they go through the toughest thing any family can face – having a child with a terminal illness.”

Unfortunately, in Australia, over 28,000 children live with life-limiting conditions, with more than half of them being under 18. Despite these staggering numbers, the country currently has only three hospices to cater to these children and their families.

Dr Raymond Chin of Western Sydney University Medical School highlighted the urgency of the situation, “Given the number of children requiring this care, we should have more hospices. We’re falling behind and are failing to support the children and families who desperately require care.”

“Our mission is to see more hospices built across Australia that support and assist children with a life-limiting condition and their families. We believe every family should have the option to choose hospice care for their child at end of life if needed. Hospices are places where children with a life-limiting or terminal illness live, not die,” said Ryan.

Rio’s Legacy is committed to building Australia’s fourth children’s hospice in Western Sydney. With a functional model of care already in place, Fowler appealed to the public for support. “With land earmarked in Oran Park, functional model of care and fly through architectural design developed, we just need the financial support of Australians together with the government to help bring our mission to life,” said Ryan Fowler.

To contribute to this honourable cause and help build this hospice in Western Sydney to support families, donations can be made via the Rio’s Legacy fundraising link –https://rioslegacy.grassrootz.com/rio-23-brisbane-to-sydney

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