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Ruby returns to school

COURTENAY
COURTENAY'S RUBY POIRIER, right, her mom Janette, brother Emmett and family dog Wally are pleased Ruby is home from the BC Children's Hospital.
— image credit: Photo by Renee Andor

After over half a year of cancer treatment in Vancouver, 11-year-old Ruby Poirier is home at last.

Ruby's cancer is in remission, and she and her family are still settling in at their home in Courtenay as they just moved back last Monday.

"We just got news on Monday that she's allowed to go to school on the first day so that was a big surprise," Ruby's mom Janette said late last week. "We're super happy."

Ruby was first diagnosed with leukemia when she was six, and after four years of remission, the family was told late last year the cancer had come back.

Ruby went back to BC Children's Hospital in Vancouver for treatment, and Janette took an extended leave from her job at the Best Western Plus Westerly Hotel so she could remain by Ruby's side the entire time. Ruby's father Dylan Canterbury stayed home and worked, but brought Ruby's brother Emmett to Vancouver every weekend so the whole family could be together.

Janette said doctors will continue to monitor Ruby, but the cancer is gone, and the family is glad Ruby's treatments are finished.

Though she missed over half of Grade 5 at École Puntledge Park Elementary, Ruby enters Grade 6 this year. Janette noted it can be daunting having missed school and starting up again, but said she's pleased Ruby will be in a Grade 5/6 split French immersion class this year.

Ruby said she feels pretty good now, and she's looking forward to art and music.

"I want to play piano," added Ruby, noting many of her friends take piano lessons, too.

Janette says the family is grateful for all the community support they received. YANA (You Are Not Alone) set the family up in an apartment in Vancouver during Ruby's treatment, the community held fundraisers to help the family out financially and many people sent cards and notes of support.

"All the support was awesome," Janette said. "It was never-ending. There was always somebody doing something.

"It was a good reminder that we're not by ourselves."

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