​Team RoRo’s Race for the Kids

2018 is a special year for Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) patient Rowan, having completed his treatment for leukaemia. To mark the occasion, he’s hoping to assemble a team of 100 for this year’s RBC Race for the Kids – Cocker Spaniel included! Here’s his story. 

Arriving at GOSH 

In March 2015, after collapsing in his mum’s arms in a GP car park, Rowan was blue-lighted to Watford Hospital where he was diagnosed with leukaemia. He was five years old at the time. 

From there, Rowan was swiftly transferred to GOSH, where he was taken straight to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) for emergency chemotherapy. 

Rowan’s mum, Abby, says of their arrival: “We were seen by Dr David O’Connor and Dr Nick Goulden (one of the consultants who has now retired). They were absolutely tremendous – we’re very lucky to have been received by them and they treated Rowan through the night.” 


Rowan stayed in the PICU for three days. Once he was stabilised, he was moved to Giraffe Ward – the hospital’s cancer unit – where he stayed for about a month. 

After leaving Giraffe Ward, Rowan was in and out of GOSH regularly for chemotherapy. “We were coming in every four weeks … then every 12 weeks. We were regulars,” says Abby. 

Luckily, Rowan responded well to the chemotherapy, and – three-and-a-half years later – he has now come to the end of his treatment. 

During his time at GOSH, Rowan really got to know the staff and other patients at the hospital, and so he’ll be a little sad not to visit as much. 

“As much as it hasn’t been nice to have all the treatments, he sees it as another part of his family,” says Abby. 

Taking part in RBC Race for the Kids 

Despite some mobility problems as a result of his chemotherapy, Rowan has still taken part in RBC Race for the Kids – the charity’s 5k family race – every year. 

“Rowan has been determined to do it, and every year he has… whether that be walking a bit and running a bit,” explains Abby. 

“One year, he just couldn’t do it all, so we pushed him round in a wheelchair and he got out to walk the last 100 yards over the finish line, which was very emotional.” 

A special year 

Rowan and his family are particularly excited for this October’s race because he recently rang the hospital’s end-of-treatment bell. 

Rowan and his family

As Abby explains: “This year’s RBC Race for the Kids is a special year, as Rowan has marked the end of his treatment. We’re also taking part in honour of Rowan’s friends, who are still in the cancer unit. 

“It amazes me how upbeat and resilient they all are throughout their treatment, which is a lot down to all the staff at GOSH. They completely put their trust in the doctors and nurses who always put a positive spin on things.” 

For this year’s race, Rowan’s family are hoping to accrue a team of 100 (including dogs!). “We’ve had over 50 people in our team before, which raised more than £30,000,” Abby adds. 

An occasion for everybody 

Abby would encourage anyone to take part in the fun run. 

“There’s no pressure to run. You can walk, you can scoot it, walk the dog – it’s an occasion for everybody! It’s really good fun and well organised and the cherry on top of the cake is you can raise much-needed funds for all the sick children at GOSH.” 

Rowan will be starting the race on Saturday 13 October in Hyde Park! Inspired to take part? Sign up to the race by hitting the button below. 

Sign up now 

Watch Rowan’s story here: 

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