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

Learn More About ThinkCure!

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.


More from Lisa Sigell
  • A. Langford

    We love you Uncle Robert, Jannel & Ruby <3 and we know you will get through this. Ruby is the giant ball of sunshine in our family and we are all here for you. <3

  • Mike Olds

    My Prayers are with you both. I would Love to hear from you Robert, It’s been many years since I lost contact with you and your family. Would you or Terri, Mark, Debbie, Larry, Try to contact me on Facebook. Sincerely Mike Olds

    • Larry Spencer

      Hey Mike…long time and hope all is well with you! Looking for you on Facebook…didn’t know there were so many with your name…so try letting us know which one you are! Great to hear from you!

  • Larry Spencer

    Wow, a tv star now…Ruby! We love and wish you all the best for your progress so keep smiling and know that our prayers are with you, Robert and Jannel. We think of your often and so happy that you are being so well taken care of by Dr. Ko and the staff. Hugs and kisses….uncle Larry and family!

  • David Garth SPRY

    My grand Daughter Is blessing in holy spirits love and gods hands with the two most loving parents and dodger blue. Keep Smiling and hugging mom and dad ruby and remember your grandpa david garth spry loves you has you in all my PRAYERS RUBY> LOVE GRANDPA DAVID>

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