House debates

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Constituency Statements

Blood Donation, Walsh, Richie (Little)

10:34 am

Photo of Ross VastaRoss Vasta (Bonner, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

On Saturday I attended a breakfast in support of Little's Legends, a fundraiser to support young Richie Walsh, who was diagnosed 11 months ago with a rare stage 4 cancer. I've been privileged to get to know Richie and his family, who are originally from the UK, and support them on their journey. At only seven years old, Richie is taking on the battle of a lifetime, and week after week his siblings and parents have shown such strength and resilience.

While we have shared messages about how blood donations save lives in the past, in the case of Richie blood donations are keeping him alive. It was so great to see so many people join Saturday's fundraiser, which was also supported by FRIGG Cafe in Manly. If you are fit, healthy and able, there is no reason why you shouldn't be signing up to give blood.

After first hearing from the Walsh family mid last year, it was such a pleasure to finally meet them in person only a couple of weeks ago. They are UK expats transitioning to permanent residents of Australia, and Richie's diagnosis threw a big spanner in the works on that front. However, I was very glad to work through that process with them and ensure that they can remain in Australia so Richie can continue his treatment and the family can continue to build their lives here. Less than 24 hours after their visas were granted, Richie's two eldest siblings had enrolled in double degrees, ready for their studies. It was such a positive outcome and would not have been possible without all the tremendous community support. More than 150 letters of support were sent in to help the Walsh family remain here in Australia. It's truly humbling to see so much care and compassion in our community.

When I finally caught up with the Walsh family in person, I was just so pleased to see all their smiling faces and to meet young Richie, who has been an absolute champion throughout his cancer battle. During our catch-up, I also gifted Richie a very special buggy, donated by Vuly, and I hear he is having a blast, using it to take his guinea pigs on tour around the house. After meeting this incredible family, I would just like to encourage everyone to visit the Little's Legends website to learn more about Richie's rare-cancer battle.

I also urge everyone to give blood because, when you put a young face to the cause, it really hits home as to what a difference your blood donation can make. Thank you, Karl and the Walsh family, for reaching out to me. It has been such a pleasure to meet you all, to support you and champion Little's Legends on your behalf. I wish you all, and, especially, Richie, a happier and healthier future moving forward. Your strength during this difficult cancer battle has been truly inspiring.