Six-year-old girl on road to recovery after suffering stroke

Team Ruby

Team Ruby

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When six-year-old Ruby Smith fell ill at school last year, her parents were shocked to discover she had suffered a stroke.

Left unable to walk after losing movement down one side of her body, and with complete loss of speech, Ruby was in hospital for six weeks – including over Christmas.

Now the brave schoolgirl has learned to walk and talk again – and her family are hopeful she can make a full recovery, despite still facing some neurological challenges.

The grateful family has raised more than £5000 for the Sick Kids Friends Foundation (SKFF) – to thank the hospital for the care it provided while she recovered.

Led by her parents Jane and Iain Smith, 15 friends and family members have run a massive 90 miles as ‘Team Ruby’ for the charity.

Childhood strokes are extremely rare, with only one in 150 strokes in the UK occurring in people aged under 20.

As well as the charity run, Team Ruby have held bake sales – smashing their original target of £500.

Ruby’s mum, Jane, said: “Child first, patient second is exactly what SKFF does – they really work to lift the spirits of the kids and their parents.

“The Drop-In Centre made things much easier for us, as Ruby’s little brother was too young to be on the ward, but was instead able to visit his sister there. It also creates a relaxing space and a break for the children and their families away from the ward.

“Ruby has come a long way since her stroke and is making an extremely positive recovery. She is walking and talking again and even joined in with us warming up before the race.

“She is working very hard at overcoming some more hidden neurological deficits and is now starting to phase back into school. We are very hopeful for a full recovery.

“The amount the running challenge has raised is just phenomenal and it’s fantastic to be able to contribute so much to the great work of the charity. We want to say a huge thank you to everyone who ran, donated and spectated, baked and sold cakes, and of course to all the staff at SKFF.”

Sue Diamond, community fundraising manager at SKFF, said: “We are extremely grateful and honoured to be the chosen charity of Team Ruby.

“The team has raised an astounding amount of money that will have a huge impact on the lives of the patients and their families that we support.

“At SKFF, we exist to ensure children and young people’s lives are less interrupted by illness and that they have a more positive hospital experience.

We provide enhanced facilities and cutting edge equipment and it is the generosity of those who get involved with us, like Team Ruby, which allows us to continue to do this.”

The Sick Kids Friends Foundation supports and complements the work of the Sick Kids hospital as well as other children’s healthcare settings across the southeast of Scotland and beyond.

Donations are still being collected for Team Ruby. You can contribute at: https://teamskff.everydayhero.com/uk/ruby-paediatric-stroke-survivor.

newsen@edinburghnews.com