Ross faces the future without fear

Ross Green with his dad Bruce... “Why bother being scared of things? You only live once,” says the teenage cancer survivor. Photo by Silas Brown

TEENAGER Ross Green says he was a “little bit nervous” about giving a talk to a Camp Quality seminar, but after beating cancer the 16-year-old reckons there’s not much that fazes him these days.

“Before the cancer you wouldn’t have even got me on a rollercoaster, but now I’m thinking about jumping out of a plane,” says Ross.

“Why bother being scared of things? You only live once.”

The Gungahlin College student gave a speech at the OPC IT/Camp Quality breakfast seminar at the National Press Club, to kick off fundraising activities for 2011.

“Constables” Mark Duggan and Brett Norton from OPC IT, known as the Fun Police, will be taking Woody, a 1976 Holden Kingswood, from Canberra on the 20th fundraising motoring adventure esCarpade.

Ross Green with his dad Bruce... “Why bother being scared of things? You only live once,” says the teenage cancer survivor. Photo by Silas Brown

Diagnosed with high-risk t-cell ALL (Acute lymphoblastic leukemia) in 2007, Ross says it all started when he felt soreness in his fingers and toes.

“It was a weird pain, sort of like a sprain, and as I’d recently started playing baseball, and had a stack on my scooter, I assumed it was all related to that,” he says.

Eventually though, Ross says the pain got so bad that his mum took him to the Canberra Hospital emergency room where blood tests revealed the cancer.

“We had the results at noon, and by 3pm we were on a plane to Sydney for treatment,” says Ross’ dad Bruce. “It all happened so fast.”

“I was quite scared,” says Ross.

What followed was a year of hospital visits, steroid treatment and a bone marrow donation from Ross’ then four-year-old brother Max, which ultimately saved his life.

Nevertheless, says Ross, “he’s still an annoying brother!”

Ross, who has recently done work experience at Camp Quality, says that the organisation helped him and his family to have days out where they didn’t have to think about anything other than having a good time.

“It made such a difference,” he says. “They also got me a Nintendo DS when mine was stolen at the hospital. Things like that helped us to stay positive, and I’m happy to be able to give back now – even though I’m too young to take part in esCarpade.”

Bruce says that Ross was an innocent kid prior to the diagnosis.

“He had to grow up pretty quickly,” he says. “And with him being so isolated, and not mixing with other kids for so long, he was more in tune with adults than kids by the end of his treatment, so that was hard for him for a while.”

Three years out of his operation, Ross says things are looking good. “I’ve been moved to the long-term clinic ahead of schedule – usually that happens after five years, so that’s great news,” he says.

“I always think about it, even though he’s doing so well now,” says Bruce.

“Anywhere where I think he could catch something, like a plane ride, I get nervous.

“But like a lot of kids who go through things like this, Ross has now got this lust for life, and I’m really proud of him.”

Donate to Canberra entrants ‘The Fun Police’ at www.campquality.org.au/escarpade. Funds raised will help children living with cancer and their families.

WOODY’S on the road again for Camp Quality, the children’s family cancer charity that believes in bringing optimism and happiness to the lives of children and families affected by cancer through fun therapy.

The 20th anniversary Camp Quality esCarpade will kick off in Bendigo on Friday, October 14 and will end 3400km later in Bright on Friday, October 21.

“Constables” Mark Duggan and Brett Norton from OPC IT in Canberra, otherwise known as the OPC Fun Police will be taking Woody, a 1976 Holden Kingswood, for the second time on the esCarpade fundraiser.

The “Constables” said: “We have been touched by the many stories we have heard from other teams and from CQ and by the overwhelming kindness and generosity of spirit that just mentioning CQ arouses in
people.

“For us and our sponsors it is all about the journey and the opportunities we are creating to raise awareness of the help that’s required, more so than the destination.”

Backing the OPC IT charity drive are ActewAGL, “CityNews” and a group of local businesses.

This year’s esCarpade retraces the original route of 20 years ago.

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