BUDDING-paramedic Rhys Greedy has conquered cancer and next month the mountain climber’s mission will be to scale Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
While embarking on the 6000m four-day hike up Africa’s highest mountain, each step the Caloundra adventurer makes will be for the Sunshine Coast’s youngest battlers.
“Standing at the summit will be the defining moment that will represent Nambour Hospital’s Paediatric Ward and the 10 month journey that has taken place in the lead up to that challenge.”
Rhys has feverishly raised more than $20,600 for the children’s ward which was directed to Wishlist to purchase 10 portable DVD players for young inpatients, 10 Samsung galaxy tablets, a television for the unit’s play room and a new Xbox console with games.
“About $8000 has already been spent on upgrading the electronics equipment within the ward.
“The remaining money will be at the ward’s disposal for further upgrades or to help fund their available therapies which include music, yoga and education.”
The cause is close to the former soldier’s heart after being diagnosed in 2009 – at age 21 – with Hodgkin Lymphoma.
After rounds of radiation and chemotherapy, Rhys beat the disease and has since made it his duty to fundraise by embarking on grueling expeditions. This has included a 17-day self-funded trek to the Annapurna Base camp in Nepal and France’s Mont Blanc in 2015.
“It was a single spontaneous visit into the Paediatric Ward last year that confirmed my decision to reach out to the staff and young patients.
“I wanted to achieve a physical challenge to not only raise much-needed funds for the unit, but to bring awareness to the inspiration and also suffering that takes place behind the walls.”
One particular patient still sticks in Rhys’s mind.
“I met an eight-month-old boy who suffers from a terrible condition where he has numerous lesions on his brain, causing him to have regular seizures daily.
“To see such agony and despair from his mother who doesn’t leave his side, was extremely confronting yet motivating for me to complete what I’ve set out to do.”
Paediatric Ward Nurse Unit Manager Anne-Maree Holmes said Rhys’s generous donation had given young patients the opportunity to have fun during their hospital stay, which was often referred to as ‘distraction therapy’.
“Our patients range from only days of age to 18 years,” Ms Holmes said.
“They could be here for an admission with a medical condition – for example diabetes, asthma, vomiting or an infection – or could be in to see a surgeon for appendicitis or broken bones.
“We also care for patients who have an eating disorder or other mental health issues.”
“Distraction therapy is a way of helping our patients cope with a painful or difficult procedure. It can also be used if a child is in pain or discomfort or in an unusual environment.”
Wishlist is the Coast’s health foundation and directs more than $1 million each year for the needs of our public health service. Since 1998, Wishlist – with the help of a generous and committed community – has directed more than $12.5 million towards supporting the local health system.
Can you help? Click the ‘donate’ tab at www.wishlist.org.au.
Bianca Keegan – Wishlist Communications Coordinator, 5470 9737 or 0438 758 925