Dedicated team delivers support

Donna and Terry Saunders with daughter Jamie and family at the Rockhampton courthouse this week.
Donna and Terry Saunders with daughter Jamie and family at the Rockhampton courthouse this week.

AS well as sweeping reforms throughout Queensland Health, Ryan Saunders has another legacy.

The foundation established in his name, and the dedicated team of directors at its core, is delivering much-needed funds and support to the region's vital emergency services.

Kylee Matthews, one of the six Ryan Saunders Foundation directors, said the tragedy surrounding the toddler's death inspired the institution, which aims to raise funds and awareness throughout the Central Highlands' community.

"The reason for the foundation is to inform, not just our local community, but to inform people of the role of the RFDS, Capricorn Rescue Helicopter Service and the Qld Institute of Medical Research," she said.

"We support our local Emerald Hospital for anything, but particularly the pediatric unit.

"We have also put together a community health project looking at going to schools to talk about washing hands to stop the spread of infectious diseases."

Mrs Matthews said a particular aim of the foundation was to discover a vaccine for Strep A, the infection that Ryan died from.

Overwhelming support for the initial foundation from the Emerald community has seen it grow from strength to strength, and when the website is launched in the coming weeks it will be able to take donations, and provide families with important information on services and support available.

The foundation's colours, red and white, match the smiling photo taken of the happy toddler at kindergarten, and is one of the last images taken before he died. From inside a red playground bucket, the colours have come to represent Ryan's legacy and have already made the foundation recognisable throughout the Central Highlands.

"We do what we can manage," Mrs Matthews said.

"We're not a massive group so we still have to work in our capacity."

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