Girl, 13, came home from school with agonising ‘growing pains’ then got horror diagnosis

A teenager came home from school with what her mum thought were ‘growing pains’ – but just 24 hours later she was given a devastating diagnosis.

Ruby Chiege was suffering after a day in the classroom, but her mum Debra assumed it was all part of a change in her body.

A day later, however, their lives faced turmoil which prompted a member of the family to make a great sacrifice.

Ruby, 13, had pain in her legs but paracetamol failed to ease her discomfort and Debra was advised to take her to A&E.

Manchester Evening News reports Ruby had X-rays taken which showed nothing of concern and was told to go home and continue taking painkillers.

She was kept off school the following day as the pain persisted, but fainted in her room later that evening and her mum knew something was seriously wrong.

The family returned to hospital where Ruby was given blood tests.

Single mum-of-four Debra was on her own when she was taken into a private room and told her daughter had leukaemia.

Debra, 38 said: “There was a long wait for an ambulance so her grandma took us back to hospital.

“They did bloods and that’s when we found out it was leukaemia. They said they needed a second opinion and were going to send us to Manchester Children’s Hospital.

“I had heard of leukaemia, but I had never read up on it. I said, ‘What’s leukaemia? You’ve got the wrong child here’. I just sank.

“Whatever they said to me wasn’t sinking in. I just couldn’t lose my daughter – cancer is cancer. The big C.”

Ruby remained in hospital for chemotherapy treatment for four months before being allowed home.

But the chemotherapy has not destroyed all of the leukaemia cells and the cancer still remains.

Doctors now hope a bone marrow transplant can treat her leukaemia.

While some with the illness would have to wait for a matching donor, Ruby won’t need to.

Her nine-year-old brother Rio has stepped up to help save her life.

Debra, a support worker added: “We sat him down and said, ‘Ruby needs this and you’re a match,’

“He said he wanted to do it, he wanted to be a superhero for his sister. The bone marrow transplant started on September 22.

“It’s turned our lives upside down. I have three other kids at home and I haven’t seen much of them over the period of what Ruby has been going through. I’m on sick leave at work and I have bills and all sorts catching up.

Debra has also chosen to have one of Ruby’s ovaries frozen as her cancer treatment may have affected her fertility.

The mum added: “She has to have one of her ovaries frozen; it’s being sent to Oxford because the next round of chemotherapy will destroy her ovaries.

“When she’s old enough, it’s there if she wants children,”

A fundraiser has now been set up to help Debra, Ruby, Rio, Marley and Morgan through this difficult time.

It is hoped donations from the GoFundMe page can help support the family through the cost of living crisis while Debra is out of work.