Wish­ing for an in­spi­ra­tional hero

Isis Town and Country - - Front Page - By MELINDA BRAD­FORD

WISH GRANTED: Lo­cal lad Josh Ruane had a spe­cial visit from his idol, Vic­to­ria Cross re­cip­i­ent Cor­po­ral Ben Roberts-Smith, thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foun­da­tion.

ARMY cadet Josh Ruane had just one wish – to meet his idol, Vic­to­ria Cross re­cip­i­ent Cor­po­ral Ben Roberts-Smith.

That wish was granted when the Aus­tralian solider sur­prised the teen in hospi­tal, thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foun­da­tion.

Josh has spent the past eight months in the Bris­bane’s Royal Chil­dren’s Hospi­tal fight­ing a rare form of leukaemia, but for one day he could for­get all the pain.

The 15-year-old was lost for words when his hero peered around the cor­ner of his hospi­tal ward.

“I couldn’t be­lieve it ... that he was ac­tu­ally there,” Josh said.

Josh, who has as­pi­ra­tions to join the army as a com­bat en­gi­neer, sub­mit­ted the re­quest through Make-A-Wish to meet his idol, but said he never imag­ined it would come true.

The lo­cal lad ex­plained he greatly ad­mired the Vic­to­ria Cross re­cip­i­ent be­cause of the courage the cor­po­ral dis­played while un­der fire in Afghanistan.

“He got a medal and with the medal comes stand­ing by your mates,” Josh said.

“If I had a chance for an­other wish, that would be the wish again.”

Josh’s mum, Colleen, had been keep­ing the visit a se­cret for a num­ber of weeks.

“It was so hard for the cou­ple of weeks I knew about it. I kept nearly blurt­ing it out ev­ery time,” Mrs Ruane said.

“When Ben poked his head around the cor­ner, the look on Josh’s face – he was shocked.

“I’ll never for­get the look on his face.

“It was amaz­ing when he met Ben … He is such a down-to-earth, re­ally lovely guy.”

The sur­prise visit is just what Josh needs as he pre­pares for his next bat­tle – a bone mar­row trans­plant.

And he is go­ing to need all the strength and de­ter­mi­na­tion he can muster as he faces a tough six weeks of in­ten­sive treat­ment in isolation.

“Josh, my­self and fam­ily would like to say a huge thank you to ev­ery­one for their sup­port and well wishes and that we can’t wait for this to be over and back in our own lit­tle com­mu­nity,” Mrs Ruane said.

The de­ter­mined teen has one clear mes­sage to his friends back in the Isis district: “I’ll be back”.

See how school stu­dents showed their sup­port for Josh in next week’s Town & Coun­try.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

WISH GRANTED: Not only did Josh Ruane’s wish to meet Cor­po­ral Ben Roberts-Smith come true, the teen also came face-to-face with an­other army mem­ber – an ex­plo­sives de­tec­tion dog. Josh hopes to one day work with de­tec­tion dogs in the army.

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