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Selfless girl to help others
Selfless girl to help others

A young Brisbane girl with a life-threatening tumour is desperately seeking medical help from overseas because doctors in Australia can't operate.

Despite her own battle, four-year-old Ruby Ernest has embarked on an inspiring mission to help thousands of other children in public hospitals around the country.

You wouldn't guess from her bright smile and bubbly personality that Ruby Ernest has a life-threatening chest tumour.

"She's gorgeous, and she takes it all in her stride," Mum Jo told Seven News.

The large lymphatic malformation was discovered last March when Ruby was treated for bronchitis.

The tumour is resting on her lung and wraps around her heart.

"This is Ruby's sleeping giant; this is what we call it," Mum says of the tumour, that is the size of an adult’s fist.

"I've asked could this be fatal and I just get, 'good question', nobody knows – nobody - it's precarious at best.

"The only comfort that I can draw is that we're not alone."

Thousands of the paper cranes hang in her home made by family, friends and the community in the hope doctors can successfully treat Ruby's condition.

Ruby calls them wish birdies.

Ruby and her mum are now on a mission to give something back, launching Ruby's Toy Challenge on Facebook to collect donated toys for public hospitals - starting with the Royal Brisbane and Mater where she's receiving treatment.

"This is definitely going to bring a lot of toys to needy children both to the Mater and Royal Brisbane Hospital,” Scott Knoll from the Children’s Health Foundation says.

"I can't say enough about Ruby - she's only four but she wants to help so many children."

Ruby's a poster girl at the Wonder Factory - where she's already donated toys.

As many as 30,000 children enjoy the Wonder Factory every year, taking much needed time out from treatment. All the toys and facilities are donated.

New toys and ones in good condition are needed.

Jo hopes everyone gets behind Ruby's Toy Challenge to ensure her daughter's wish to make a difference comes true.

"It can create change - positive change," Jo says.