Family overwhelmed as Hook Norton community pulls together for Super Ru

(L-R) The Hackland family: Cat, Ruairi, John and Struan, five, with the boys' grandfather Tony Lorimer
(L-R) The Hackland family: Cat, Ruairi, John and Struan, five, with the boys' grandfather Tony Lorimer

A family from Hook Norton have been overwhelmed with the village’s support ever since finding out their young son has a rare form of cancer.

Ruairi Hackland was diagnosed with anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALK negative) in July, becoming the first known two-year-old in the UK to have the disease.

The past few months have been tough for parents Cat and John Hackland, with Ruairi starting chemotherapy in the hope it will help but with little knowledge as there is no research or case studies.

But family, friends and strangers from the village have rallied around to raise money for research in a variety of ways, all in the name of ‘Super Ru’, as well as supporting them emotionally.

Cat said: “It’s knocked me off my feet, it’s been absolutely amazing.” John added: “The support from the village has been incredible in terms of the level of support.”

Cat discovered a lump under Ruairi’s arm in June and after several trips to the doctor with little progress, the following month it was confirmed to be cancer.

As there are very few case studies around the world for doctors to refer to, his treatment is based on what would be given to an adult with not a lot of knowledge about how it will go.

But the parents are focusing on the positives and the treatment.

Cat said: “We had a very dark couple of weeks, it’s funny you always think its never going to be you but then as soon as you hear that word, for two weeks you think about the end and you’re focused on that.

"But then when the treatment started and you realise you have to be a mummy and you get on with it.”

A ‘Super Ru’ fund has been set up with the Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group allowing people to donate into one pot with all the money going toward researching Ruairi’s condition.

All sorts of fundraising efforts been set up, from cycling and walking groups competing for the charity to clothes sales and Hook Norton Primary School ‘going gold’ for the day, with nearly £7,000 raised so far.

For more information and to donate, visit cclg.org.uk/Super-Ru