Ruby's Story

Ruby (10) was admitted for an urgent MRI after she suddenly became paralysed from the waist down. She was completely unable to walk. Her parents were having to carry her.

Mum Leanne says: “She was diagnosed with Functional Neurological Disorder (FND). She spent 46 days in hospital, relearning to walk. To this day, she still can’t feel her legs.

“This had a huge impact on Ruby as she was the fittest little girl: a talented footballer and dancer. And this all stopped. She was terrified, not knowing whether she would ever walk again. We tried to remain positive, but battling the pain and the emotional trauma took its toll.

“Audrey from the Play Team was a godsend. When Audrey saw Ruby at her worst, she still brought activities to distract her and kept coming back until she was ready.

Audrey from the Play Team was Ruby’s best friend in hospital.

“She would take her in her chair to the playroom to draw, play board games and let her be the nurse in charge. It helped so much to know that Ruby was content and gave us time to call family or get fresh air and gather our thoughts.

“Ruby enjoyed decorating the ward for Halloween, and her and Audrey made shakers, which they handed out to the other children. This gave Ruby a focus and helped her to chat to others who were poorly too. These distraction techniques were so important and when we look back now, in the photos we always see a smile on Ruby’s face during these times.

“The support from ECHC also made an enormous difference to Ruby’s time in hospital. Ruby thought she wouldn’t be able to dance because she was in a wheelchair, but she proved herself wrong and really looked forward to dancing every week with Christina. 

“Visiting The Hub to see the Therapets, play instruments and games, wear the virtual reality headset and play basketball in the garden which was definitely a favourite. When Ruby was having a particularly challenging day, she loved going out and shooting hoops with the ECHC team to calm herself.  

“Ruby has overcome so much and continues to fight this terrible condition. Unfortunately, a year to the day later she experienced new symptoms – dissociative seizures, uncontrollable movements, tics and the continued difficulty with her legs working properly.

“We’re currently taking one day at a time, and we try to be thankful that she can walk, although times can still be tough. Her biggest achievement is she’s now back on the football pitch! That puts the biggest smile on her and our faces.” – Leanne, Ruby’s mum

A day without play is a much longer day for seriously ill children and their families. Help to bring play to children in hospital like Ruby by donating to our Play Appeal today.