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Sunderland school unites to help brave Ruby


Caring Sunderland schoolchildren have raised nearly £7,000 to help their fellow pupil Ruby Dunn, eight, in her brave fight against a brain tumour.

Every child at South Hylton Primary Academy gathered to watch Ruby, her mam Danielle, dad Joseph and little brother Joseph junior let go a balloon launch on the school playing field, taking message of her fight for health far and wide.

Each of the 945 balloons launched represents fund raising efforts by the pupils and their families to support Ruby who is undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy to treat an aggressive brain tumour.

Just six weeks after being diagnosed, Ruby has had an operation to remove 90% of the tumour – and she now faces eight months of intensive treatment to eradicate the remaining 10% under the supervision of specialists at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary and Freeman Hospital.

Ruby has been diagnosed with a Grade 4 Astrocytoma – an extremely rare cancer in children and more commonly found in middle-aged adults.

She suffered from headaches, high temperatures and vomiting and her parents were given the devastating news by doctors after an MRI scan that she had a brain tumour.

The cash raised for Ruby by her school friends will help her parents – who have put their lives and jobs on hold while they devote their time to caring for their daughter, visiting hospital five times every week.

Mam Danielle Wanless, 30, who works for Gala Bingo in Pallion, said: “The day that we found out our whole world just turned upside down.”

Dad Joseph Dunn, 36, a construction worker, said: “It doesn’t seem real and there’s a part of you which doesn’t take it all in. You cry when you’ve got to cry but we keep strong in front of Ruby. We are now just concentrating on trying to get Ruby well.”

Ruby is still attending school when she feels well enough and has astounded her family and friends with her energy and upbeat attitude. The family from Pennywell, Sunderland, hope to use some of the funds raised for a family holiday in Majorca if Ruby is well enough.

“We just couldn’t believe what the school has done for Ruby, it’s unreal,” said Danielle. “It’s heart breaking what’s happened but heart warming in the way everyone has helped out. It’s very emotional.”

Joseph added: “We never pictured ourselves being in this position, but how fast people come together and help you is absolutely unreal.”

The Ruby Red balloons for the launch were specially chosen by the school to reflect Ruby’s first name and her initials – RED, Ruby Elise Dunn.

Ruby’s Year 3 form teacher Lisa Collins, said: “When we found out it was such a shock. We knew the family would have to stop working and the expense of the travelling they would have to do for Ruby and we knew we had to help.

“We made a target of £1,000 by getting sponsorship of at least £2 for each balloon and the response we’ve had and generosity of our parents and wider community has been quite overwhelming.”

Welcome from the Headteacher

On behalf of the Governors, the staff, the pupils and myself it gives me great pleasure, as Headteacher, to welcome you to the South Hylton Primary School website.

The school website is a very important tool in celebrating the amazing activities that take place at South Hylton Primary Academy. It is also a vital tool in communicating with parents, carers and visitors as well as providing information about the various policies, practice and procedures in our school. Our new website has been designed to give you a taste of our school as well as providing regular updated information for parents but to find out more please contact the school. 

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