Welcome to Ruby Seeto

I was healthy and happy growing up in Auckland until I was 9 years old and I found a lump on my side by my ribs. Mum took me to the doctor who sent us to Starship Hospital where I had several scans and tests before the doctors told us that they had found a very large growth on my liver and they didn’t know what it was.

Doctors decided surgery was the best option - to remove the growth and test what it was, and a date was scheduled 5 weeks later.

By the time of my surgery I was really really sick, very weak, I was in a wheel chair as I couldn’t walk and was in a lot of pain. The liver surgeon from Auckland Hospital took 7 hours to remove the tumour along with 70% of my liver and my gall bladder.

After a few weeks, the big wound across the front of my ribcage and up the middle of my chest bone started to heal and I was feeling better when we met with the Starship surgeon to hear the results of the tests on the growth. But it was bad news. I was diagnosed with a very rare cancer undifferentiated sarcoma of the liver.

We went directly up to level 7 at Starship - the Oncology ward - and met Ruellyn Cockcroft, my Oncology Specialist and she spoke to my mum and dad about a treatment plan. Fourteen rounds of chemotherapy over a year.

The treatment began immediately. Each of the 14 chemo treatments took about 5 days and it would make me very sick, so that even in between treatment I would still be in hospital. The nurses and doctors at Starship were really nice and there were lots of sick kids just like me.

While I was ill, my family and I got lots of support and this really helped us cope. I got lots of amazing letters and cards from everyone. Parents from my school at St Michael’s provided meals and helped look after my little sister, Noon.

Me looking at my bandages

I remember during my first chemo treatment, the Child Cancer Foundation lady bought me a big stuffed Pink Panther and a really comfy patchwork quilt which I used all the time in hospital.

Later, the people at Make-A-Wish gave me an awesome laptop computer and a family friend gave us a mobile modem so I was able to keep in touch with my friends while I was in hospital.

Mum had been a volunteer with the Friends of Starship for a few years and so everyone involved with the Friends and Starship Foundation were really good to us.

Near the end of my treatment I was lucky to be invited by Koru Care to go on their 16 day trip to LA and Disneyland in November 2007. They were leaving just 2 weeks after my final treatment and thankfully I was well enough to get on the plane. It was the best holiday I ever had!

Then, Cure Kids took mum and me to Queenstown for a weekend with a bunch of other sick kids and actors, Renato Bartolomei and Craig Parker came too and they were lots of fun.

After almost a year and a half out of school, I started college as a Year 7 student. It was so good to be back with friends and doing normal things.

I am now very well and clear of cancer.

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