Gold Coast’s Ryan James Helping Wheelchair-Bound Harrison Raise Money
Gold Coast Titans enforcer Ryan James is known for his aggression and is quickly becoming one of the most feared forwards in the National Rugby League.
Standing 194cm and weighing a whopping 122kg, is it any wonder New South Wales coach Laurie Daley is considering the man mountain as a shock addition to the State of Origin team?
But there is more to the hulking Titan than his ability to terrorise opponents.
A few short weeks ago, James helped the Gold Coast to an emphatic 32-6 victory over the Penrith Panthers at CBus SuperStadium in round seven. What James didn’t know was 13-year-old Harrison Wheatley was amongst the crowd.
Harrison wanted a photo with James post-match and when the Origin prospect realised the youngster was wheelchair-bound, he jumped the fence and presented Wheatley with his boots.
You see, Harrison has been in that wheelchair since he was a youngster due to a congenital cervical spine disorder.
But as is the power of the human spirit, the young Queenslander is planning to walk the final kilometre of the City2South fun run on June 14. Not content with pushing his own wheelchair over the finish line, Harrison wants to raise funds to help the Starlight Foundation, the very same organisation that has kept his spirits up in his time spent at the Mater Hospital in Brisbane.
A kid like Harrison Wheatley puts everything in perspective.
“I am doing this run again as a personal challenge to myself and also to raise awareness for the Starlight Foundation which does amazing things for children who sometimes have it tough in life” Harrison writes on his fundraising page.
“My aunty is pushing me in my wheelchair for the 5km run, however it is my goal to get out of my wheelchair and walk the last 1km by myself. This year I have decided to raise money for the Starlight Foundation. I am doing this because the Starlight Foundation was so helpful with my numerous hospital stays.”
James and his fiancé are planning their upcoming July wedding and fiancé Ana had been pushing for the Titan to chop off his beloved mop of hair for the ceremony. Now James has an extra reason to get a very rare haircut.
The Tweed Heads native will lose his famous locks in support of Harrison’s fundraising.
Harrison’s mum Julie told titans.com.au that her son just wants to help.
“We were just blown away by Ryan’s generosity in jumping the fence and giving Harry his boots, that was far beyond our expectations of what anyone would do,” Julie said.
“But once Ryan looked into the history of Harry it showed his spirit and kindness to do a massive thing and cut his hair short to help Harry help other people.
“We have always told our children there are people worse off than what our challenges are daily. What the Starlight Foundation does for children in hospitals is amazing and their room at the Mater Hospital in Brisbane got Harry through a lot, especially during a four month stay he had when he was just turning five.
“Harry just wants to raise money to help Starlight because he sees how special their work is for other children and for Ryan to go out of his way to help him is really special.”
While James himself says he’s only too happy to raise awareness of Harrison’s efforts.
“For him to get out of his wheelchair and walk the last kilometre of the fun run to raise money for others is a pretty mighty effort and I just want to help in some way.”
Harrison’s goal was to raise $500, but already it has risen to $1,908.
You can donate here: https://city2south2015.everydayhero.com/au/harrison#post_466372