Ruby's Story

Ten-year-old Ruby had been suffering with severe migraines.  Her parents took her to her local hospital before she was transferred to Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital by emergency ambulance.  Dad Gary shares their story.

Two years ago Ruby started suffering with frequent headaches.  We thought she was just prone to migraines but as the pain worsened I took her to our local hospital where they ran some tests.  We went back home to wait for the results and at tea time that day we were asked to go straight to hospital as they had detected high levels of creatinine, which is normally an indication that the kidney’s aren’t working properly.

We were transferred by emergency ambulance to Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.  Ruby underwent more tests. We were devastated to be told that Ruby had kidney failure and that her kidneys were only working at 15% of their normal capacity.

Ruby was in hospital for just under two weeks whilst they did investigations and she also underwent surgery to have haemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis (PD) lines fitted.  Ruby spent four months on haemodialysis to give her PD line chance to settle.  We were trained on how to use the PD line so that Ruby could have her treatment in the comfort of her own home.

Our little girl has spent so much time on dialysis – often needing it 6 nights a week for up to 11 hours at a time.  In February 2017 Ruby underwent keyhole surgery to remove her kidneys.  That summer, Ruby started to have problems with her blood pressure so we went back to visiting the hospital four times a week for haemodialysis. Each session would last for four hours so we spent a lot of time at the hospital.  The treatment could often make Ruby feel weak, and she found it difficult to sit up comfortably during it but she soldiered on and remained brave and positive. 

Ruby also underwent new assessments to see if she was ready to be listed on the transplant list for a new kidney.  We were delighted to be given the great news in October 2017 that Ruby could be added to the list. I also underwent tests to see if I was a suitable donor but unfortunately I wasn’t.

Ruby continued to attend the hospital for haemodialysis and we just kept hoping that one day we would get the call that there was a suitable donor for her.

At 8.30am on the 29th January we were just getting ready to leave for school when the phone rang.  It was the hospital to tell us they had a match for Ruby.  We were in complete shocked but felt extremely lucky to receive the call. Ruby was a little scared and nervous about the operation but we talked it all through with her and reassured her before heading to the hospital.  

Ruby was taken down to theatre and spent four hours in surgery transplanting the kidney.  It was a huge relief to be told that the operation was a great success and after spending 10 days on Ward 77 we were finally able to come home.

It is absolutely amazing to see our little girl full of energy and enjoying being back at school without having to visit the hospital four times a week. Ruby is still a bit nervous about someone banging into her but she is absolutely made up to be able to eat beans and a normal diet!

Ruby really is our little superstar and we are so proud of her and her positivity.

We can’t thank the hospital enough for everything they’ve done for Ruby, the care and treatment she received and continues to receive has been amazing.