Blood cancer survivor bags barramundi

Fighter: Windang's Hailey Ryan, 9, with the 1.18-metre barramundi she caught.
Fighter: Windang's Hailey Ryan, 9, with the 1.18-metre barramundi she caught.

Blood cancer is no match for nine-year-old Hailey Ryan - she has bigger fish to fry.

The Windang girl hooked a 1.18-metre barramundi while fishing in Northern Territory waters, putting the big boys to shame.

Hailey's pretty proud she made the catch all on her own, with no help from dad, and she has video evidence to prove it.

"She tells everyone about it, she was the only one to catch two fish over a metre," her mum Dianne Ryan said.

"She's very passionate about her fishing, she loves going out with her dad."

Hailey and her family fell in love with Australia's Top End during a trip around the country and decided to stay a while longer. They settled in Darwin but 18 months later Hailey's health declined.

"She was diagnosed with lymphoma and within 24 hours she was in Sydney Children's Hospital," Mrs Ryan said.

"Looking back she had all the signs, she had the lumps, the night sweats, all the symptoms," her mum said.

"She had to fight it twice. She went through chemo and then she was in remission, but three weeks later she relapsed.

"She had to start all over again. Two big battles with chemo, full body radiation six times, then she had a bone marrow transplant and there were a lot of rejection issues, so she's had the works."

Hailey is in remission again, so the family adventure has picked up where it left off - 3½ years later.

Hailey is back scouring the waters of Roper River - and the rest is history.

"We are back [in Wollongong] for the [Camp Quality] convoy, then it's straight back to Darwin, we fly out Wednesday morning," Mrs Ryan said.

Hailey will be on board the McMahon's Transport People's Truck for the i98FM convoy on Sunday.

"It's a fantastic community event. At Lake Illawarra Hotel they do a big barbecue when the convoy goes right past. We wouldn't miss it," Mrs Ryan said.

"There are bands, stalls, music, it's a fantastic day."

Last year, 704 trucks and 728 motorbikes took part in the convoy, with more than $691,000 raised.

This year's convoy leaves under police escort from Illawarra Coal's Westcliff Colliery on Appin Road at 8am and heads down Mount Ousley through Warrawong and past Stockland Shellharbour, then onto Croome Road, Albion Park Rail.

The action continues with a free family fun day at the Croome Road Sporting Complex, when the registered motorbikes and trucks begin arriving about 9am.


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