Ruby Owen: Family overwhelmed by support after five-year-old's death
THE devastated family of cancer victim Ruby Owen say they have been overwhelmed by the support she received during her short life.
The five-year-old's uncle Gordon Owen has thanked fund-raisers for their tireless efforts to pay for her treatment in the U.S.
He has also paid tribute to the staff at the Donna Louise Children's Hospice where Ruby lost her battle for life.
The 45-year-old, of Mustang Close, Tunstall, told The Sentinel: "The family are very grateful for the time and effort that people have put in to raising funds for Ruby.
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"There are too many to name personally but it goes without saying that the people of Stoke-on-Trent are kind.
"They care a lot about the Donna Louise Hospice and their efforts have been amazing – we can't thank people enough."
Little Ruby, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2009, slipped into a coma at the Trentham Lakes-based hospice on Monday and died at around 5pm.
Gordon said: "When she was admitted she only had weeks to live and I think the fact she held on so long is testament to their excellent work and care.
"I know a lot of the nurses were very fond of Ruby, as many people were, and they were very upset when she passed away."
Gordon joined Ruby's parents Martin and Rachel at her bedside in her final moments.
He added: "It has been a devastating time for the family.
"Because Ruby kept defying the odds and was such a brave little girl it gave us all so much hope.
"We knew that it was going to happen after she was admitted in to the hospice but you can never prepare for something like that.
"It has been absolutely devastating to lose a child and the pain is unbearable for them."
Gordon, a self-employed computer engineer, added: "She was just a normal little girl who had a really brilliant personality.
"She probably didn't realise what was going on and she was so full of life.
"Unless you knew about her illness then you would never have been able to tell because she was such a little character and liked to get her own way."
Ruby, from Kidsgrove, twice flew to the U.S. for pioneering treatment – paid for by fund-raising efforts in her home town and the wider North Staffordshire area.
Together they collected around £250,000.
Gordon added: "It was very expensive for the treatment and we appreciate everything people did to raise the money."
Donna Downs, from Kidsgrove, was among the hundreds of people who organised fund-raising events.
The 35-year-old said: "The parents will clearly be devastated but they need to know we all believe they did all they could for Ruby.
"I think they should be very proud of that fact."
Andrea Harper, who works for the Donna Louise Trust, said: "We would like to remind people that we offer bereavement services in the hospice for anyone who is suffering from the loss of child.
"There's a whole range of people we help from grandparents through to siblings.
"We aim to create a safe and secure place for people to talk about their feelings and life."
Send your tribute to Ruby to firstname.lastname@example.org