Mission for palliative care spurs ride from Geraldton

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Lisa FavazzoMidwest Times
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Ryan Fowler is raising money for his family’s charity, Rio’s Legacy.
Camera IconRyan Fowler is raising money for his family’s charity, Rio’s Legacy. Credit: Lisa Favazzo/The Geraldton Guardian

There is no purpose-built facility for children suffering from a terminal illness in WA, but one grieved father is determined to help ensure that changes.

Ryan Fowler left Geraldton on Monday on a mission to run and ride 1061km around the Mid West and Great Southern in 21/2 weeks, raising money for the cause under his family’s charity Rio’s Legacy.

So far, the WA ride has already raised more than $40,000 of his $100,000 goal, with donations going to a planned facility at Perth Children’s Hospital announced last year.

It’s a matter very close to his heart.

The late Rio James Fowler.
Camera IconThe late Rio James Fowler. Credit: Supplied

In 2017, Mr Fowler’s one-year-old son Rio James Fowler presented to a Sydney hospital with a gastrointestinal illness.

Rio never came home, passing away at the palliative care facility Bear Cottage.

The ordeal was heartbreaking for Mr Fowler, his wife Karen and daughter Remi, now 7.

But all agreed that the support and care the family received at Bear Cottage was a lifeline throughout the gut-wrenching experience.

We have had no idea about the JU lack of resources and everything until we were in that position.

- Ryan Fowler.

“The best thing about Bear Cottage in these hospitals is the amount of support they gave not just our little boy Rio, but Remy as well,” Mr Fowler said.

While there, they met families from other parts of the country who travelled to NSW to use the facility, discovering many Australian kids don’t have access to palliative care in their State.

“We had no idea about the lack of resources and everything until we were in that position,” he said.

“When Rio passed away, we put together the charity.”

Ryan, Levi, 15 months, Remi, 7, and Karen Fowler before the ride.
Camera IconRyan, Levi, 15 months, Remi, 7, and Karen Fowler before the ride. Credit: Lisa Favazzo/Geraldton Guardian

Rio’s Challenge of Hope will take the Queensland-based family from Geraldton to Perth, then from Albany to Fremantle.

“The plan was to be a champion (for) these amazing families, these amazing doctors and places that work tirelessly to put in effort for these kids who are not going to live the longest but are going to have fruitful and purposeful lives,” Mr Fowler said.

To donate, head to ww.rioslegacy.grassrootz.com/rio-s-challenge-for-hope.

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