The parents of Rhys Cowen, a past student, are set to raise money for charity in a challenging bike ride in memory of their son Rhys who died last year of a rare type of cancer.
The epic ride of 560 miles called Ride for Rhys is being done by Rhys’ dad Dave Cowen and three friends. They plan to cycle from Coventry to Newcastle then across the country to Liverpool before returning to Coventry, taking in all three of Rhys’ favourite football teams grounds, all in eight days. Dave will set off with his companions on 29 May 2021 and finish on 5 June.
Rhys was diagnosed in May 2019 with rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS), a rare cancer which more commonly only affects children and teenagers. Over the ensuing months he battled the disease, undertaking chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
The funds raised during the Ride for Rhys will go to the charity Raising Hopes for Young Stars (RHYS) set up by Rhys’ father Dave with five other trustees. The money raised will be used to provide experiences, emotional support and hope to sick children and their families. Rhys himself had the opportunity to experience days out during respite between treatments and the organisation want to give other children the same chances to experiencing special times during their treatments.
To help with the fundraising effort the RHYS charity has set up a Facebook page which gives details of the charity ride as well as information about Rhys himself and his wish that money be raised to help other children and their families who are dealing with cancer. RHYS said: “Rhys faced his illness with incredible bravery. His passion for life and kindness to all those he met made him a truly special young man.”
Rhys joined us at Heart of England School in September 2018 at the start of Year 7. He was a keen sports fan and very active boy. He enjoyed watching and playing all kinds of sports; supporting his local football team Coventry City FC as well as Newcastle United and Liverpool FC – hence the root chosen for the Ride for Rhys event.
Rhys was also a big fan of the Miami Dolphins, the US NFL Team, a passion he shared with his dad a former Coventry Jets player. His wide interests in sport meant that he really wanted to give sporting experiences to other young cancer sufferers.
Rhys’ brother is currently in Year 7 at Heart of England and his parents Charlene and Dave work for the NHS as frontline workers. “Rhys continued to attend school through quite aggressive treatment and teachers and students alike were extremely supportive of what he was going through, particularly his Pastoral Manager,” said Dave Cowen.
We wish the team all the best for the forthcoming event as they train hard in the last few weeks before they set off. “Raising the Hopes of Young Stars (RHYS) is a charity that is born out of Rhys’s dying wish to help other children in a similar situation. The charity named after him means our son’s memory will live on… ‘forever 13,’” said Dave.
Details about the ride and how you can help with sponsorship can be found by exploring the links on this page.
There are 13 stars which represent Rhys being only 13 when he died; the family use #Forever13 when speaking of Rhys. The bell signifies that which is run by cancer sufferers at the end of their treatment and the dolphin represents the Miami Dolphins, the NFL Team Rhys supported – he also played flag football himself following in the footsteps of his Dad.