Girl, 5, given all clear for brain tumour after family funded U.S treatment denied by NHS, dies after cancer returns
Ruby was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2009 and needed specialist radiation treatmentNHS refused to put her on project to send children to U.S for the treatment saying her survival chances were too lowParents raised 170,000 and she was given all clear in 2010 after treatmentCancer returned in 2011 and sadly further treatment could not eradicate the disease
11:43 GMT, 8 January 2013
11:44 GMT, 8 January 2013
A brave five-year-old girl who was given the all clear for a brain tumour after the NHS 'abandoned' her has died just months after the cancer returned.
Ruby Owen was told she had beaten the cancer in 2010 after her family raised 170,000 to fund specialist radiation treatment in America.
Her parents, Martin, 42, and Rachel, 40, were left devastated when the NHS refused to fund her treatment after she was diagnosed with paediatric cancer neuroblastoma in 2009.
Rachel and Martin Owen pictured with their daughter Ruby. She passed away on Monday at a hospice
Ruby (pictured with her parents) was given all-clear in 2010 after having treatment in the U.S. However, the cancer returned a year later
Martin and Rachel, from Kidsgrove in Staffordshire, were told their daughter needed proton radiotherapy – an advanced treatment that does not damage the tissue surrounding tumours, as would conventional radiotherapy.
This means it can be used in extremely delicate areas, such as brains and eyes, to destroy tumours without causing catastrophic harm.
The NHS has one low-powered proton radiotherapy machine, but it can treat only eyes, not brains.
Her father left his thriving fire-alarm business to raise nearly 170,000 to take Ruby to the US for specialist radiotherapy.
Speaking at the time, Martin said: 'The head of oncology told us very candidly: “You need to ring America.”'
He added: 'There is an experimental project to send children abroad for this treatment, but we were then told the (NHS) team would not fund our trip because Ruby's survival chances were too low.'
Despite the devastating blow, the family refused to give up and did everything from shaking tins outside football grounds to having sponsored chest waxes to raise the cash for her trip.
Rachel Owen and her daughter Ruby who had paediatric cancer neuroblastoma
In 2010 her family raised 170,000 –
including a 20,000 donation from comic Lee Mack who heard about Ruby's
plight – and she travelled to America.
She was given the all clear and returned to the UK but last February tests showed she had developed a second tumour.
Doctors told Ruby's parents a few weeks ago that there was nothing more they could do for her
Friends, relatives and a local
charity raised 120,000 to send her to America for 10 weeks and 33
gruelling treatments which this time failed to eradicate the cancer.
And in October, her family confirmed Ruby only “had weeks to live” after doctors told them there was nothing more they could do.
She died on Monday at the Donna Louise Children's Hospice in Trentham with her family by her side.
A spokeswoman said: 'Ruby Owen passed away peacefully surrounded by her family.
'Her family continue to receive support from the hospice and we ask that their privacy is respected during this very difficult time.'
The charity Caudwell Children who helped raise money for her treatment said Ruby had 'touched many people's hearts.'
Spokesman Ben Sutcliffe said: 'As a charity we fund raise all around the country, but never had we seen an outpouring of emotion like we did when we asked the local community for help and donations for Ruby.'
A message from the official Ruby Owen Twitter account said: 'Just to let you all know Ruby has slipped away from us this afternoon. She is with the angels now. Heartbroken 🙁 thank u for the support.'
Last June heartless conman David Saville, 22, was slapped with a community order after pocketing hundreds of pounds from the charity set up to help her.
Saville pretended he was taking part in a sponsored bike ride in aid of the brave youngster and used official fundraising forms to swindle 237 from wellwishers.