Tea Gardens RFS 'Santa' Ross Walters to shave beard and head for Mulbring girl Hannah Rye

BEARD BE GONE: Tea Gardens resident Ross Walters, formerly of Bellbird, will shave his beard on December 7 after reaching his fundraising target for Hannah Rye.
BEARD BE GONE: Tea Gardens resident Ross Walters, formerly of Bellbird, will shave his beard on December 7 after reaching his fundraising target for Hannah Rye.

The past 15 months have been incredibly tough for Mulbring girl Hannah Rye and her family.

Hannah – who turns 15 on December 20 – was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Ewing’s Sarcoma in October last year.

The tumour on her spine was deemed inoperable, and she was given a 60/40 chance of survival.

After an intensive treatment plan that involved 31 radiation treatments and 14 months of chemotherapy, Hannah received the amazing news that she is currently in remission.

Hannah’s mum Racheal said the family could not have made it through the past 15 months without the support of their amazing community of family and friends.

Students from Kurri Kurri High School have raised money and families and friends from Mulbring Public School have cooked meals to ensure Hannah’s father and siblings were well-fed while Hannah and Racheal were at the hospital.

“We want everyone to know that by giving to our family you have all played a part in her journey,” Racheal said.

“Knowing how many people love and support Hannah has lifted us when sometimes it's been hard to find a reason to smile.

“There is a saying that it takes a village to raise a child – well, our village has raised a child in spirit.

“We are continually overwhelmed and feel so very blessed.”

FIGHTER: Hannah after her last chemotherapy session on November 14. Picture: Racheal Rye

FIGHTER: Hannah after her last chemotherapy session on November 14. Picture: Racheal Rye

Fundraising has allowed the family to renovate their home to meet Hannah’s medical needs, and the latest venture will go towards a family holiday to Noosa to celebrate Hannah’s remission and enjoy a well-earned break from the hospital environment.

Tea Gardens Rural Fire Service’s go-to Santa, Ross Walters, will shave his beard and head on Wednesday, after reaching his fundraising target of $2000 – which will go towards the family’s holiday this month.

Mr Walters, a former Bellbird resident who now lives at Tea Gardens, is the grandfather of Hannah’s best friend Ellsie.

“After meeting Hannah only a few times she just made herself a  part of our family and we felt privileged to have her as as a part of it,” he said.

“We thought would never have any trouble with our granddaughter if this was the kind of company she was choosing to keep. She was just a delight to be around.” 

Mr Walters said finding out Hannah had cancer was devastating news.

“I felt helpless and wondered how this could possible happen to such a lovely young girl,” he said.

“I would have done anything I could have to help.”

Mr Walters was inspired to shave his head and beard after seeing a photo of Hannah with her head shaved after she started treatment.

“I would really like to say thank you to all the kind people who have donated over the past month to help make this holiday a special time away from cancer and hospitals for this special young lady and her family,” he said.

Donations can still be made; find out more at ‘Holiday for Hannah’ on Facebook.

Hannah Rye

Hannah Rye

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