The parents of an inspirational schoolgirl whose life was cut short by cancer have set an ambitious £200,000 fundraising target to help pay for potentially life-saving research.
Ruby Stewart lost her bravely-fought battle against stage four Alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma just days before her seventh birthday last January.
Parents Andy and Claire, from Inchture, launched an appeal in her memory – Super Ruby’s Rhabdo Raiser – to gather crucial funds for the Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG).
All money raised in Ruby’s name goes into a dedicated pot to support research into rhabdomyosarcoma.
It is the only charitable organisation in Scotland dedicated to fighting the disease.
Having shattered the £100,000 barrier, her parents have now set a new goal to make at least £200,000 before the end of the year.
Claire said getting involved in last year’s Kiltwalk helped raised more than £25,000, largely thanks to a generous contribution from the Hunter Foundation.
The couple reached the £100,000 mark at the end of last year, despite Covid-19 restrictions making fundraising more challenging.
Caire said: “On one hand, it feels like a huge achievement, but on the other, we know of fundraisers in a similar position who’ve achieved so much more.
“We have much more to do.”
Be More Ruby
She said: “We mainly feel a great sense of gratitude to everyone who’s supported us to get to this point and those who continue to rally and raise in Ruby’s memory. They are making such a difference.
“For us, it means Ruby’s life has meaning that will last for many years to come and we couldn’t be more grateful.”
The couple did not set a target when they started the campaign, but were determined to raise as much as possible.
“This year, we felt it was time to be ambitious, to see how far we can get,” Claire said.
“It’s certainly going to be a challenge, particularly in the current situation, but we are driven to succeed.
“The more we raise, the more we can invest in projects that help other children and families affected by rhabdomyosarcoma.
“It’s very important to us that this is part of Ruby’s legacy.
“As a parent, when you receive a cancer diagnosis for your child, you feel helpless. You feel like you should be able to fix it, change it, cure it, but you can’t.
“You hand the life of your child over to clinicians and the healthcare system and hope that they can make your child better, make the cancer go away.
“When they can’t, when nothing can be done and your child is lost, taken by cancer, it makes you angry, frustrated, devastated: so many emotions.
“For us, that experience has taken us to a place where we want to do what we can to change the future for other children with the disease that took our daughter from us.
“The only way we can do that is by supporting research in the hope that something makes a difference.”
She said the work carried out in Ruby’s name is heavily influenced by her desire to help others.
“She would be telling us to do this if she were here, to try to change things so that no more children die of the disease she had,” said Claire.
“The amount of compassion and empathy Ruby had even at the age of six was quite remarkable.
“If she’d been allowed, she would’ve been helping the nurses to care for the other patients during her inpatient stays.”