Luke Spalding (2014 graduate) was named Redland City's Young Citizen of the Year for his charity work in 2015. After being diagnosed with cancer in 2014, Luke soldiered through school and moved on to racing, becoming a successful V8 and F3 racer.  He created a charity, raising $25,000 to provide iPads for children in hospital cancer wards.  Sadly, Luke lost his battle with cancer on the 17th September, 2016.

Read more of Luke's story below:

In 2014, 17-year-old Luke Spalding juggled Year 12 at Redlands College with doing wonderful things for the community. Luke devoted a considerable amount of his time and energy helping others, specifically sick children in hospital wards. Despite Luke’s own personal battle with cancer, diagnosed with a rare aggressive form of desmoplastic small round cell tumours at the age of 14, he dedicated much of his time to raising money to provide gifts to children with cancer in between receiving his own cancer treatment.

In 2015, he successfully put a call out to the community for fundraising support and since then raised enough funds to buy 75 iPads – one for every child who spent Christmas Day in the oncology ward at Brisbane’s Royal Children’s Hospital. Luke, a keen motorsport racer, was the face of last year’s Redlands’ Relay for Life. With the enormous support from his family, Luke also participated in many other fundraising activities to benefit the community.

For a kid with cancer, Luke Spalding had a remarkable attitude to life. He was the Ambassador for the Children's Hospital Foundation, and spent hours every week cheering up littlies in the cancer ward.

"You need to push and strive for something, otherwise you end up laying in bed feeling sorry for yourself," said Luke.

And while feeling sick from all the medication he was on, he still raced V3s.

Luke was diagnosed with the extremely rare cancer Desmoplastic Small Round Cell Tumour at the age of 14. "They found out I had over 300 tumours," said Luke.

Despite chemotherapy, radiation and at least 10 surgeries, he was still able to take on the champions at Phillip Island, sometimes getting out of his sick bed to do so.

"It's the only thing that gets me out of hospital. I'm hoping to get into one of these things and get to the track."

"He had a real team behind him. They all know Luke, they know there is no stopping him so they have no choice but to get him up and out and ready for racing," said Luke's mother Sarah.

Luke started racing carts when he was seven years old. In 2015, he won Australian Formula 3 National Class Champion and in 2016 raced in V8 Utes Racing Series, despite being incredibly ill. 

"It's something I wanted to do all my life, and I'm not going to let a sickness take that away from me," said Luke.

Luke was the face of the 2015 kids hospital appeal and so they raised over $31 million for vital research for sick kids during that time.

The more research, the more new drugs they have, the more lives they can save that otherwise would probably not make it.

Luke's family will continue his fundraising.  He was an inspiration to us all.

You can donate to Luke's charity here: gofundme.com/lukesipads

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