Local family the Ryan’s have registered for the McDonald’s Townsville Running Festival to help raise money for the Ronald McDonald House – a service they themselves have had to use.

Daughter Lilly-Ann, 8, was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and a few years ago mum and dad, Alana and Scott, had to travel with her down to Brisbane so she could have surgery on her hip. The Townsville-based family stayed at the Ronald McDonald House during that time.

Cerebral Palsy is a physical disability that affects movement and posture due to damage to the developing brain either during pregnancy or shortly after birth. Cerebral Palsy affects about 34,000 people in Australia.

“We needed somewhere to stay that was close to the hospital, so we stayed with them,” said mum Alana. “They do such a great a service for families like us.”

“Because we’ve used the Ronald McDonald House before, we thought we’d sign up [to the Running Festival] and have a go,” she said. “We thought it would be something nice to do, to raise a bit of money and get the family out together for a day.”

This will be the first year they have competed and the family of four have signed up for the Townsville Airport 2.5k Hero Run – a family friendly race where many of the children and parents involved dress up as their favourite heroes.

“The kids will definitely dress up, though I’m not sure about me and my partner, whether we’ll do it too!” she laughs. “Lilly is eight and she enjoys all that pretty stuff and getting to dress up in costumes so it will be good for her.”

Alana, Scott, Lilly-Ann and brother Matty, 1, will all run alongside Townsville’s costumed heroes and are hoping that their participation and fundraising efforts will give a little back to the foundation that helped them in their time of need.

CEO of Ronald McDonald House North Queensland Amy Cooper says this is exactly the kind of community spirit the charity has always encouraged.

“It’s wonderful to see that people who have stayed at the house are then going on to support other sick children and their families by fundraising in the community,” said Amy.

“We hope to see more people supporting North Queensland families by donating on the day or fundraising in the lead up to the event.”

The 2017 McDonald’s Townsville Running Festival will be held on Sunday, 6 August. For more information, and to register, go to www.townsvillerunningfestival.com