Ruby smiles to the cameraAt her second birthday party, Ruby happily enjoyed all the excitement and atmosphere. For Ruby’s parents, Victoria and Rob, and her big brother Freddy this was a special day creating family memories.

Not long after Ruby’s birthday party, Victoria and Rob were aware that their daughter’s behaviour had changed. “Ruby became quiet and withdrawn” explains Victoria. “Ruby started to refuse food – she was infamous for her huge appetite!” 

Other vague symptoms included a wheezy chest and once Ruby began a course of prescribed allergy medication. This seemed to help, but her appetite was not improving. Ruby’s hardworking parents were enjoying a rare weekend away when they received a telephone call from Ruby’s anxious Grandparents. The local pharmacist had seen Ruby and thought she looked jaundiced.

“Ruby was clingy, unhappy and vomiting,” says Victoria. Ruby’s parents immediately returned home and took their daughter to the local Accident and Emergency department. By this point, Ruby had stopped eating completely. She lost so much weight that a worrying growth in her stomach became visible. Ruby was quickly transferred to St. George’s hospital where a tumour biopsy was the first planned surgical procedure for Ruby. Her blood pressure was so high that the medical team considered it too dangerous to go ahead. Only when Ruby’s blood pressure was under control did the biopsy take place – the results of which left Ruby’s parents shocked and devastated.

Their two-year-old daughter Ruby had stage 4 high-risk neuroblastoma – an aggressive childhood cancer. “When we found out about Ruby’s diagnosis we were in complete shock, it all seemed (and still does) surreal and we were absolutely devastated, we couldn’t believe this was happening to our little Ruby,” says Victoria, Ruby’s mother.

As with more than half of children diagnosed with neuroblastoma, the cancer had spread throughout Ruby’s body by the time she was diagnosed, making her condition one of the most difficult kinds of childhood cancer to treat. “Ruby had a large tumour in her abdomen going up her spine and disease in her bone marrow” says her mother, Victoria. “The tumour was pressing on her internal organs and made her extremely poorly. Her belly was swelling up and pushing on her lungs. She could hardly breathe and needed oxygen”.

Treatment

Little Ruby had two surgeries to remove the tumour in her tummy, along with endless amounts of chemotherapy, surgery, radiotherapy, high-dose chemotherapy, a stem cell transplant and immunotherapy to treat her disease.

Ruby wearing a wooly hat and playing

Ruby's high-profile campaign was supported on social media by celebrities including Louis Tomlinson from One Direction, musician Rick Wakeman, England fly-half Danny Cipriani and The Only Way Is Essex’s Mario Falcone.

Ruby's mum, Victoria, emotionally announced that her daughter was in remission in late 2017!!

Ruby's Fundraising Campaign

The family fundraised for Solving Kids’ Cancer to help Ruby and other children like her, should she need to follow an expensive treatment path. They smashed their £500,000 fundraising target and the funds are being held for Ruby should she need them in the future. 

As we know with a high-risk neuroblastoma diagnosis, the probability of relapse is fairly high and through Ruby’s Journey, Solving Kids’ Cancer can ensure that every possible avenue for treatment is open to her.

Victoria says: “It was an absolute battle for two years, I wasn’t prepared for how harsh the treatment is. Seeing her so sick, crying in pain, she just had such a haunted, terrified look on her pretty little face. But in true Ruby style, she never gave up and fought with courage I have never seen before in anyone, let alone a child. I admire her so much, her strength is fearsome! I wish I was as strong as her!”

A poem from Ruby's brother, Freddy

What can we do for Ruby Roo?
The little girl is only two
The poor little honey
Has a tumour in her tummy
Give a penny, give a pound
So a cure can be found.
What can we do for Ruby Roo?
The little girl is only two
Mummy and Daddy they keep crying
To be good I keep trying
Give a penny, give a pound
So a cure can be found.
What can we do for Ruby Roo?
The little girl is only two
I want us to be able to play
But Ruby Roo is sick all day
Give a penny, give a pound
So a cure can be found.
I’m Freddy Robert I’m nearly five,
Please help my sister to survive. 

How you can help

There are many ways you can help Ruby; by making a personal donation; holding a fundraiser; getting sponsored to take on a challenge; or simply following and sharing Ruby’s story through her Facebook page.

If you’d like any help supporting Ruby’s campaign, please get in touch on 0207 284 0800 | [email protected]