Good Friday Appeal chooses brave Riley, 2, to head its cause

BORDER residents will see a lot more of this boy’s brave smile.

Wangaratta’s Riley Twomey, who suffers from the blood disorder haemophilia, has been named the face of the 2014 Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal.

The two-year-old will appear on posters and other promotional material for the appeal on April 18.

Parents Angelina Grasso and David Twomey couldn’t be more proud.

“It’s such an honour for him and something he can to look back on and be proud of,” Ms Grasso said.

Last year a swollen ankle baffled his parents and doctors, who later diagnosed Riley with the blood disorder.

The swollen ankle was a bleed.

His condition means the blood does not contain enough clotting factors to control bleeding, putting him at risk of complications from extended bleeding, particularly internal bleeding.

Riley was a regular patient at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital when he was first diagnosed in April last year.

For the past 10 months, his parents have been administering the blood clotting factors at home.

Every three months the family return to Melbourne where Riley’s muscles, joints and pain levels can be assessed by specialists.

Haemophilia is a genetic disorder and the slightest bump or bruise could cause a life-threatening injury.

“It’s sad because he loves watching football,” Ms Grasso said.

“He’s a football fanatic but he will never be able to play the sport.

“There are other things he will miss out on when he goes to school, like school camps.”

But Ms Grasso said as her son grew, he was starting to know his limits.

“Through this whole thing, he has been so brave,” she said.

“The hospital staff have been extremely supportive.

“We don’t know anyone else with this condition, so it’s great to help raise awareness.”

The Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre will host this year’s appeal.

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