BENDIGO mother Rachel Ellis and her 19-month-old son Ryder Colless have had a tough year.
Last Christmas it was discovered Ryder was suffering from a rare disease known as Langerhan’s Cell Histiocytosis (LCH).
LCH is a cancer-like disease where the body’s Langerhan’s Cells, normally found in the skin, are abnormal.
As part of Ryder’s treatment, he and family travel from Bendigo to the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne every three weeks.
On Friday Rachel and Ryder became the face of a new partnership between the Bendigo Bank and the Royal Children’s Hospital.
The initiative will see millions of dollars donated to the hospital in a bid to change the health outcomes of thousands of children across Victoria.
Bendigo and Adelaide Bank chairman Robert Johanson launched the partnership with a $250,000 donation.
Bendigo and Adelaide Bank community engagement executive Robert Musgrove said the partnership was close to the heart of the bank.
“You would be hard pressed to find anyone here in Victoria who hasn’t been touched by the Royal Children’s Hospital, and that includes our staff,” he said.
Ms Ellis, who is also a Bendigo Bank employee, said she was proud to see the bank get involved with such a worthy organisation.
“The support we have received at the RCH has been phenomenal,” she said.
“The friendly staff and world-class facilities make what has been a really tough time that little bit easier.”
Royal Children’s Hospital Children’s Cancer Centre treating oncologist Marty Campbell said the disease had affected Ryder’s skin, multiple bones and his pituitary gland. Ms Ellis said being a part of the partnership was a chance for her to give back to the hospital.
“I continue every day to have an overwhelming sense of excitement knowing what’s possible and that we are going to make such an incredible difference to the lives of many children and their families,” she said.
“For me it is all about improving the health and wellbeing of the courageous and resilient children and their families from all across Australia.”