Seven-year-old Ruby 'determined' to run Race for Life for mum with breast cancer

Ruby and Henni Willcox. Inset: Ruby Willcox holding up her 'Race for life' number

Seven-year-old Ruby Willcox is running 5k in the Race for Life in honour of her mum who's been diagnosed with breast cancer. - Credit: Henni Willcox

Seven-year-old Ruby Willcox is running 5k in the Race for Life in honour of her mum who's been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Though she's only in Year Three, Glemsford-based Ruby is hoping to run the 5k with her dad, Dale, and several other members of her family to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

She is determined to finish the race and raise as much money as possible for the charity to ensure other little girls don't have to experience what she and her mother have been through.

Henni and Ruby Willcox

Ruby Willcox is determined to run 5k to raise money for Cancer Research UK. - Credit: Henni Willcox

Ruby's mum Henni said: "She's determined that she's going to cross that finish line, whether she walks, runs, skips, hops or jumps it!

"She's definitely motivated by raising money for a charity doing such important work."

Those running the Bury St Edmunds race in support of Henni Willcox, 37, have created a Race for Life team called the 'Willberts'.

So far, they have raised more than £1,000 with £400 of this figure coming from Ruby's fundraising efforts alone.

Ruby Willcox holding up her 'Race for life' number

Thus far, the family team 'Willberts' have raised over £1,000 - £400 of this coming from Ruby's fundraising efforts alone. - Credit: Henni Willcox

Henni emphasises the importance of including Ruby in her recovery, especially as she's so young and it could be easy for her to feel helpless in this situation.

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She said: "She holds my hand when I have my injections and she even requests to wash my scalp every night.

"She buys me treats with her pocket money, rarely complains, draws me beautiful pictures and writes me letters on appointment days."

Her mother said she has been blown away with how Ruby has responded to the past few months.

Henni added: "She has behaved with wisdom beyond her years and we are honoured to call her our daughter.

"She's always thinking of others and she's naturally happy which means our home is filled with joy and laughter."

Ruby also has a 'Chemo Countdown' calendar that she crosses off every morning before breakfast - each day brings them closer to the end of Henni's treatment.

Ruby Willcox holding up her 'chemo countdown' calendar

Ruby has a 'Chemo Countdown' calendar that she crosses off every morning before breakfast. - Credit: Henni Willcox

In December, Henni found a lump in her breast that she suspected could be cancerous.

Having a family history of cancer, Henni's aunt had always drilled in the importance of checking her breasts regularly.

A doctor recommended she have an ultrasound and, after a further biopsy, her breast cancer diagnosis was confirmed in January.

Henni detailed how previous lumps in her breasts, which afterwards proved to be cysts, felt different to this one.

She added: "I asked the ultrasound technician whether I needed to worry about the lump.

"She said it could be cause for concern, so we had about a week to get our heads around it."

Once she received her diagnosis, Henni said she wanted to remain optimistic and put her energy into spending time with her daughter.

On Friday, June 3, Henni, Dale and Ruby were able to enjoy their first family day out since Henni started chemotherapy.

Henni, Ruby and Dale Willcox

On Friday, June 3, Henni, Dale and Ruby were able to enjoy their first family day out since Henni started chemotherapy. - Credit: Henni Willcox

In a message posted to her Facebook page, Henni said: "We were just a normal family for the day - something that is so easy to take for granted.

"I'm tired, but it's that delicious happy tired instead of that pure exhaustion I usually feel. Best day ever!"

Henni's sixth round of chemotherapy ends on Friday, June 10, just two days before Ruby is set to cross the finish line of the Race for Life held in Nowton Park, Bury St Edmunds.

After this point, Henni's surgery options will be re-evaluated as to whether she undergoes a mastectomy or lumpectomy.

She continues to document her cancer journey on her Facebook page 'Get In, Get On, Get Out' and is immensely proud of her family's Race for Life team.

Ruby and Henni Willcox

Henni encourages everyone to do regular breast self-examinations. - Credit: Henni Willcox

Going forward, she encourages everyone to conduct breast self-exams on a regular basis, citing her own experience as reason for caution.

She said: "Ladies (and gents!) Check your boobs!"

Finally, Henni added: "We are so blessed to be surrounded by so much love and support.

"We've been overwhelmed with the kindness we've received over the last few months."