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ThinkCure!: Research, New Treatments Give Hope To Girl Battling Cancer

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Lisa_Sigell_08062010 Lisa Sigell
Lisa Sigell is a reporter for CBS 2 and KCAL 9 where she has worked...
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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — After just a week in the hospital, 5-year-old Ruby Spencer is very familiar with tubes and swabs, but she would rather play with them on a doll than have it done to her. She was diagnosed with leukemia after her parents noticed something different last month.

“So I watched my 5-year-old go from wanting to play to no strength in her body, and when I would ask her what was wrong she said, ‘tired,’” Ruby’s mother Jannel said.

Children get tired, but not ruby, not like this. Her parents say she was the happiest child in the world with tons of energy.

“She’s the perfect girl, everyone loves here. [She] always wants to play and even now all she wants to do is play,” her father Robert said.

Ruby’s leukemia is the most common childhood leukemia. Chemotherapy will hopefully be the only treatment that is needed.

But it is not easy on her or her parents.

“My mom fought cancer for five years and then to find out my daughter has a form of cancer as well. It’s just, it’s hard. I didn’t take it well in the beginning. We’ve had so much support, like our friends and our family just come just to be there for us, so we can be there for her,” Jannel said.

The kind of leukemia that Ruby has at one time was thought to be incurable, but now, because of research that led to new treatments, the success rate is as high as 90 percent.

“It’s considered one of the greatest medical successes that [the medical field] has had, said Dr. Richard Ko, who is treating Ruby at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

He says that research is the key and some of the money for research at CHLA is coming from ThinkCure!, the Dodgers’ official charity.

“ThinkCure! is definitely very important to our hospital. They fund researchers that making strides that will hopefully cure the diseases that are not the most successful,” Dr. Ko said.

And it just so happens that Ruby is a huge dodger fan — especially of the food.

“She loves to go the Dodger games, even when she was two years old,” Jannel said.

“Last time I took her it was a Dodger dog, ice cream, cotton candy. I couldn’t believe what the kid ate,” Robert recalled laughingly.

Ruby is doing great and her spirits are more than high.

“Now we have hope that she has a good chance for survival and that’s my greatest wish for her — to see her live,” Jannel said.

“To grow up, to raise a family,” Robert added.

But there is a lot of time between now and then; first things first, maybe some ice cream and a Dodger game.

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