Year 12 students’ brave fight against leukaemia as she begins HSC
Starting Year 12 is a big milestone for any teenager, but for Ruby D’Rozario, it’s an almost superhuman feat.
“Oh, you can’t explain how proud we are,” Ms D’Rozario’s mum, Jodie Parker told 9News.
The 17-year-old has fought with formidable strength, not just to get herself back to school, but to simply stay alive.
She has stunned doctors by overcoming every curveball thrown at her during her battle with acute myeloid leukaemia.
“It’s scary because I feel like I’ve jumped from year 8 to year 12, I feel like the same 14 year old girl who’s left school to start the first transplant and first rounds of chemo,” Ms D’Rozario said.
A “perfect match” bone marrow transplant from her brother Hugh, should have sent her into remission.
“He did save my life, I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for him,” Ms D’Rozario said.
She landed in intensive care twice with lesions on the brain, before contracting graft versus host disease when her body rejected the donated marrow.
As her weight plummeted to 29 kilograms, she was confined to a tiny isolation room for 110 days.
“It was very scary, and when I did get out of that room there were tears and everything,” the 17-year-old said.
“The courage she displayed was something her father and I didn’t realise she had in her,” her mum said.
Courage that saw Ms D’Rozario claw back her strength and health, in order to start her HSC and join the hunt for a cure by encouraging Australians to sign up for the Leukaemia Foundation’s Worlds Greatest Shave.
A brave fight, amid frightening statistics which show the number of children diagnosed with blood cancer is expected to double to almost 1000 a year, over the next 15 years.
“We think there’ll be about 22,000 brave Australians this year shaving their head or colouring their head, and we hope that will mean about 15 million dollars coming into the organisation,” Tim Murphy, GM Blood Cancer Partnerships said.