Legacy lives on for Noosa paramedic

Jess, Katie, Michael, Luca.

Four months after Noosa local Michael Riordan passed away from prostate cancer, his daughters are calling on the local community to fight back against the disease during Prostate Cancer Awareness Month (September).

The well-known local, who worked for Queensland Ambulance Service for 25 years, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2020 and passed away just one year later at age 64.

His daughters Jess and Caitie Riordan are determined to continue his legacy by taking part in The Long Run to raise funds for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia – and would love the community to join them.

The Long Run encourages people to run, walk or wheel 72km throughout Prostate Cancer Awareness Month to raise vital funds for prostate cancer research and support services.

Jess, who is now a nurse in Brisbane, said she had seen first-hand what patients went through during chemotherapy and radiation therapy – but watching her own dad go through it was harder than she ever imagined.

“To bear witness to such a strong man, having to go through that and knowing that it didn’t prolong his life was just awful,” she said.

“I’d like to think that there is a better way to treat and eradicate prostate cancer, but it is yet to be discovered. I’m hoping that bringing attention to this cause will assist in finally finding a cure.

“I have a husband, brother and son – I’d run to make sure that they don’t have to go through what dad did and prevent any other families from the pain of losing their loved ones.

“He was such a special man, he dedicated his career to helping others as a paramedic and continued to work right up until his treatment. Losing him is not only a great loss to us, but the wider community.”

Jess said her dad had always been into running and sport, which inspired her to take up The Long Run specifically.

“Dad loved sport and running, so to be chatting to him as I go, gives me strength to keep going on days that are particularly tough,” she said.

“We also wanted to raise funds to help vital research into prostate cancer, so that more men aren’t lost to a disease that can hopefully one day be treatable.

“As dad was prominent member of the Noosa community – we would love to see locals come together for The Long Run and help love go the distance.”

Locals can support Jess and Caitie by donating at thelongrun.org.au/fundraisers/doingitfordad

New participants and teams can also register in one easy step via thelongrun.org.au.

PCFA chief executive officer Professor Jeff Dunn AO urged men and their loved ones to come together for the long run.

“Many families in the local community are facing prostate cancer right now and will need special care and support,” he said.

“This year’s campaign, with the theme Together for the long run, aims to show our solidarity and raise vital funds so that men have access to life-saving support.

“Without community involvement in campaigns such as The Long Run, we simply will not be able to meet the growing demand for PCFA services and programs.

“We would love to see the community come together for The Long Run in 2021 and help love go the distance.”

More than 3000 people are expected to join The Long Run campaign this year in the hope of raising $1.6 million for prostate cancer research and specialist nurses.

If you or someone you know needs the care of a PCFA specialist nurse, call 1800 220 099.