Ruth's Story

Can you tell us a little about your story?

My story starts back in 1974 when I was taken to my doctor because I had unexplained bruises on my legs. My GP recognised my symptoms and sent me to Scarborough hospital for further tests. After this I was transferred to Seacroft hospital which was 57 miles away from my home. When I was around four, I have memories of going for blood tests in the grounds of Seacroft hospital. I was on ward P in the early days and I was put on a trial for a new drug called Vincristine, a chemotherapy drug, which I believe they still use today. Fortunately, the drug worked for me and I battled through the side effects and the cancer.

Ruth as a child

What obstacles did you have to overcome?

In those days there wasn’t a regular bus service and my parents didn’t have a car so they had to borrow a car from my mum’s boss. My mum couldn’t drive so she used to stay with me whilst my dad had to drive back to Whitby for work and then back to the hospital as soon as possible. During the winter months, snow was always our biggest challenge to get back home over the moors. Distance can be difficult getting to and from appointments and I suppose that’s part of the reason the Candlelighters Cottage and a home provision is going to be so beneficial to families.

And now, at 45?

I have now been fundraising for Candlelighters for a number of years! I am a part of the York Candlelighters fundraising group as well as taking part in events such as The Great North Run, sky dives, The Yorkshire Marathon, abseils. I am thrilled to have recently been recruited as a brand ambassador for Candlelighters where I will be a positive voice and face for the charity and will also represent them at events. This year will be 40 years since my diagnoses and the journey I have been on since then so to celebrate will be taking part in many more fundraising activates.

Left shows Ruth after completing the York 10 mile and right shows Ruth taking part in the Ripley Castle abseil.

Why did you want to give something back?

I wanted to give something back to Candlelighters because they helped my parents in the early days of my treatment and I want my fundraising also to help continue research into finding a cure for childhood cancers. Candlelighters make a very tough journey a little bit easier, so I love fundraising to help them continue the amazing work they do.