July 26, 2021
A massive fundraising effort by former schoolfriends and rugby league mates at the recent “Shave For Ryley and Ben” night in Kingaroy looks to have raised almost $40,000.
Ryley Allery, 22, and Ben Brooks, 21, were a year apart at Kingaroy State High School and both played for the Kingaroy Red Ants.
Ryley – who is the nephew of local MP Deb Frecklington – suddenly collapsed on May 14 and was flown in an emergency airlift to Brisbane.
“He was very, very sick,” his mum, Jackie Allery, said.
It was only later that night when the tests came through that it was realised Ryley had leukaemia.
A short time later, Ben started feeling ill and – thinking of Ryley – thought he had better see someone.
The shock news came through that he, too, had leukaemia.
The realisation sank in the two young men faced a long treatment regime during which they wouldn’t be able to work …
Seven of their mates – who previously had been involved in similar fundraisers – decided they should do something.
And so the idea for “Shave For Ryley and Ben” night at the Kingaroy Hotel-Motel was born.
Amazingly, more than 60 people, including a couple of women, volunteered to be shaved.
The fundraiser, on July 17, packed out the pub.
Men lost their hair or beards – or both – keeping the three women with clippers very busy on the night.
The local business community were very generous in making donations for the many auctions and raffles.
Sporting clubs, including the Brisbane Broncos and Penrith Panthers, also donated prizes, and the Kingaroy Hotel-Motel gave a percentage of its bar takings.
Neither Ryley nor Ben were well enough to attend the big event but they dropped in “virtually”.
Jackie told southburnett.com.au the pair were at different stages in their treatment but were now a really great support for each other.
And Ryley was feeling better after that initial emergency flight.
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Jackie said she was grateful for the Leukaemia Foundation’s house in Brisbane, which had provided the men and their families with accommodation, and for the generosity of so many blood donors.
She said the doctors had told her “tell your friends, the way they can help is to donate blood”.
“It so important that people donate blood,” she said. “Ryley has received a phenomenal amount of blood.”
The Red Cross’ Mobile Donor Centre will next be in Kingaroy from 9:00am to noon on August 13, in the Kingaroy RSL carpark.
For more information, or to book an appointment, visit the Australian Red Cross website
NB. A separate GoFundMe page set up for Ben and his pregnant fiance Tegan Krosch has now raised just over $35,000.