Walking into the Emergency Department at the Perth Children’s Hospital with their sick two-year-old daughter Amelia, Brianna and Russell felt…
Ruby was just seven months old when she was first diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.
Ruby’s parents, Emma and Joel, first suspected something was wrong when they noticed that Ruby had become extremely sleepy and pale. After taking her to Princess Margaret Hospital for a check-up and blood tests, Emma and Joel were given the life-altering news.
Ruby was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia in late 2013.
Three out of ten children diagnosed with this form of leukaemia are unable to recover from it.
“The hardest part of dealing with Ruby’s condition is knowing that tomorrow is never guaranteed and that she could be gone in a heartbeat,” Emma explained. “At each appointment I would feel physically sick hoping everything would look good”.
Before she had even turned one, Ruby had endured six intensive rounds of chemotherapy, multiple lumbar punctures and a major surgery. Emma and Joel began spending every spare moment they had at the hospital to be with Ruby. Every second was dominated by thoughts of platelets, blood pressure levels and test results.
Over a year after Ruby had first been diagnosed, the news that the family was waiting for arrived. Doctors declared Ruby to be in remission.
Finally, Emma, Joel, Ruby and her older brother Chayse could begin life as a ‘normal family’. Emma started applying for jobs again and everything seemed to be looking up. The family were hoping and praying that Ruby’s leukaemia would fade into history.
Then, in late September of 2015, Ruby’s condition took a turn for the worse.
Ruby had relapsed.
Ruby’s doctors recommended an aggressive treatment program to commence immediately. This included two high-dose rounds of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant.
Now two years post bone marrow transplant, five year old Ruby is doing great. She visits Perth Children’s Hospital for regular routine checks with the Oncology department, along with routine appointments with the Respiratory, Dental, OT and Immunology departments.
Ruby loves Perth Children’s Hospital as she doesn’t have bad memories associated with it, as she did with PMH.
Ruby is a ray of sunshine, smiling even when she’s not feeling well and the family is growing more and more positive each day.
Like any other five year old, Ruby loves to dance and draw, and loves playing hide and seek with her brother Chayse and new baby sister Evie. Emma says that when she grows up Ruby wants to be “just like mummy”.