Tax time help needed for River Ready program

14 June 2021
With tax time coming up, Royal Life Saving WA is appealing for donations to its River Ready program, which teaches kids in regional and remote communities the skills they need to play safely in our beautiful rivers, lakes and creeks.
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Turkey Creek during wet season“When Frank got taken away from us in the floods…it was scary.”

Lolana was just nine years old when, standing on a riverbank, she helplessly watched her brother Frank scream as floodwaters pushed him under.

14-year-old Frank and had raced down to Turkey Creek near the remote Kimberley community of Warmun to play with his friends after the first rains of the season. But the calm creek suddenly turned deadly, trapping Frank in the rapids and sweeping him downstream.

His friends and family had no idea if he would survive against the raging current. Alone, exhausted, and in tears, Frank was clinging to a branch two kilometres away. “I was trying to swim but I was drowning the same time as I was paddling,” he said. “I was weak, my legs, my arms, my entire body.”

Thankfully, his uncle, who got word of what happened, found Frank and pulled him out of the water.

Stephen Waterman, Manager of the Warmun Remote Community Pool, says it would have been an incredibly difficult experience. “I don’t know if you could imagine the sheer terror this young man would have felt,” said Steve. “Believing he was going to die, all alone, and no one was going to find him.”

“No child should ever have to go through that.”

Warmun children attending River Ready program“After Frank’s terrifying experience, I knew I had to run a course for the children in Warmun Community,” said Steve. “River Ready is like no other program in our state. It is unique because trainers teach children at local waterways, meaning they have a practical, real-world environment to work on their new lifesaving skills.”

“We went to a local creek where I showed the kids, including Lolana, how to check the depth of the water, use life jackets, and perform rescues with ropes and tree branches. I know these skills might not seem ground-breaking, but I promise you they are a matter of life or death. Water can become dangerous in seconds, and it is vital children know what to do in an emergency.”

Warmun boy participating in River Ready programWhile Lolana and the rest of the group now have the vital lifesaving skills they need, Frank is still petrified of the water and couldn’t take part in the River Ready course. Steve fears that "if we don’t help him and other children learn how to be safe and confident in the water, the effects will be devastating.”

The Kimberley region has one of the highest inland waterway drowning rates in Western Australia, and children are the most at risk. As a not-for-profit organisation, Royal Life Saving relies on the generosity of donors and supporters to help us complete our vital work in providing swimming and water safety skills to these regional and remote areas of WA.

If you can, please help us to continue running the River Ready program in the remote areas of our state where it is needed the most, by making a tax-deductible donation at the link below.
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