Richie was diagnosed with stage 4 Embryonal Rhabdomyosarcoma on March 16th, 2020. That morning Richie told his mum he couldn't breathe properly. On hearing this, Lisa immediately took him to the emergency department at the Queensland Children's Hospital in Brisbane.
There he underwent investigations which included a chest x-ray, and was given an initial diagnosis of pneumonia. After further tests and scans, it became clear that this was much more than pneumonia.
This was the beginning of a nightmare for the Walsh family. To hear the words “your child has cancer” is something that Richie’s parents Lisa and Karl will never forget. In that instance, their worlds and that of their children were turned upside down forever.
Richie began 52 weeks of intense chemotherapy, followed by 8 weeks of radiotherapy over the next 18 months. Sadly, despite all the treatment Richie never went into remission. He passed away peacefully surrounded by his loving family on the 26th of September 2021. He was only 9 years old.
Lisa and Karl, and their children Melissa, Luke, and Layla vowed that their warrior son and brothers’ strength, courage, and bravery would never be forgotten. Through the Richie's Rainbow Foundation, they aim to raise funds for vital research into treatments and therapies, that are kinder and more effective for children that are diagnosed with a sarcoma. By doing this, the Walsh family hopes that one day all children who are diagnosed with a sarcoma can be cured.
Richie’s Rainbow Foundation's mission is to raise awareness of childhood cancer and provide educational resources and support to families and health professionals who are faced with a cancer diagnosis. Around 800 children aged 0-14 in Australia, are diagnosed with cancer each year.
Sadly, approximately 100 of those children will not survive. Those that do survive often face a range of debilitating side effects that may last into adulthood.
Richie’s Rainbow is committed to raising much-needed funds for research into childhood sarcomas, predominately rhabdomyosarcoma, which affects approximately 20-30 children a year in Australia.
Sarcomas remain a challenging diagnosis for many clinicians, and the overall survival rate in this area of childhood cancer has remained relatively unchanged for the past three decades.
Richie’s Rainbow is dedicated to supporting clinicians associated with the Queensland Children's Hospital Brisbane and the Australian and New Zealand Sarcoma Association (ANZSA) so that they are able to conduct vital research into finding kinder and more effective therapies for sarcomas.
Open a world of fun for a sick child
Richie was famous in the hospital for never being seen without his iPad and his headphones.
As Richie had to spend a lot of time in isolation the iPad was his only way of communicating with his siblings.
Not only that the iPad provided him with hours of entertainment and an escape from hospital life.
To honor Richie's legacy in December 2021 the Walsh family gifted every child on the oncology ward in Queensland's Children's hospital one of Richie's favorite iPads.
Now that we are a fully registered charity we plan to launch our national iPad scheme across many Australian hospitals.
Richie's Rainbow will provide an iPad for any oncology child that is in need, to keep them entertained during their cancer battle.
PLEASE SUPPORT A CHARITY RUN BY PARENTS THAT HAVE BEEN THROUGH THIS JOURNEY AND KNOW WHAT FAMILIES NEED.