Ruby D'Rozario is, in her mother's words, a miracle.
The 18-year-old Woonona resident was diagnosed with the rare blood cancer acute myeloid leukaemia at the age of 14, and after six rounds of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant from her younger brother Hugh, she went into remission.
But after 11 months, she relapsed and underwent a second transplant, after which she suffered complications that almost claimed her life.
Ruby spent 110 days in an isolation room, developed a disease in which the donated marrow attacked her body, and suffered lesions on her brain.
She also underwent other treatments to fight the cancer, including more chemotherapy and full body radiation.
Against the odds, Ruby survived - and has now been in remission for almost two years.
"It feels good," Ruby said.
This year, she is completing her HSC at Frensham in Mittagong, where she boards.
She hopes to study nutrition at university next year, a career path she became interested in because it formed part of her treatment.
Ruby's also started an Instagram account, @leukwhoisliving, to share the stories of cancer survivors.
However, she still suffers the effects of the illness and its complications.
Ruby has shared her own story for Acute Myeloid Leukaemia World Awareness Day to bring attention to the illness.
Blood cancers overall have a five-year survival rate of 66.7 per cent, but among those with AML this plummets to 28 per cent.
Ruby's mother, Jodie Parker, said it was a "miracle" her daughter was still here.
But the disease stole her daughter's teenage years, Jodie said, and was still claiming the lives of young people.
Being a less common cancer, especially among children - most people diagnosed with AML are aged over 60 - and less high-profile than others, Jodie said there was less funding for the disease.
"We are still losing young lives to AML and we need to find the cure," she said.
Research from the Leukaemia Foundation suggests that the number of Australians diagnosed with the disease will triple by 2035, and the number of lives it will claim will more than double.
Childhood blood cancer is also on the rise, with the number of children aged 0 to 14 diagnosed expected to jump from about 413 in 2020 to 936 in 2035.
"With every passing day, another 47 Australians would have developed blood cancer, even if they don't know it yet," Leukaemia Foundation chief executive officer Chris Tanti said.
"That is why we urge Australians not to postpone trips to their doctor and to address any health concerns immediately.
"Ongoing symptoms such as recurrent infections, increased fatigue or bruising or enlarged lymph nodes should be urgently discussed with your GP."
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with blood cancer, reach out to the Leukaemia Foundation on 1800 620 420 or visit leukaemia.org.au for more information.
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