Family & Pets
"We are all hurting": Toddler dies of rare disease days before baby brother's birth
An Australian toddler who died two weeks before her second birthday is being remembered as a “loving, caring little girl”.
Twenty-three-month-old Ruby Edwards is the youngest victim of COVID-19 in Queensland, after the virus triggered Acute Hemorrhagic Leukoencephalitis, a rare neurological disease that usually follows viral or bacterial infections.
The aggressive disease caused damage to her myelin - the insulating layer that covers nerves - after she suffered intense inflammation to her brain and spinal cord.
Ruby passed away on July 24 at Brisbane Children’s Hospital, just ten days after she tested positive to Covid.
Her father, Steven Edwards, broke the news in a heartbreaking Facebook post on Monday.
"It is with great sadness that we announce our beautiful baby girl, Ruby Grace Edwards grew her angel wings and passed peacefully yesterday, 24/07/2022 at 4:21pm just two weeks before her 2nd birthday, surrounded by her family," he wrote.
"She fought long and hard but unfortunately, the condition was too aggressive, ruthless and relentless. Thanks to her treatment, we don't believe she suffered any pain during her fight and was able to leave this world peacefully.
"The hard working medical team of experts at both Logan Hospital and QLD Children's Hospital, did their very best and we are eternally grateful and thankful for their effort and care."
Edwards and his wife, Krystal, are grieving their young daughter at the same time as they prepare to welcome another child into the world on Friday, with Edwards saying their family feels “broken” during what should be a “happy time”.
"It feels like the world is falling apart for us right now, as we prepare for the arrival of our son this Friday, 29/07/2022. This is supposed to be such a happy time where our family would become complete but is now so broken," he shared.
"We, all of us, need to love and support each other through this unimaginably tough time. We are all hurting, we are all in pain, please be kind and be there for each other and cherish Ruby's memory and the joy she brought to all of our lives.
"All Krystal and I know right now is that we need to be strong as we embrace our arriving son. He will need us and we will need him."
Sarah Watton, a friend of the Edwards, said they are dealing with a “mix of emotions” while grieving their “caring little girl” and preparing for the arrival of their newborn son.
"What makes this incredibly tough time even more challenging is that Krystal & Steven are expecting the arrival of their son on Friday. What a mix of emotions for anyone to try to deal with," she said
"Ruby was only in this world for a short time. However, she made the most of every second. such a loving, caring little girl, always smiling. She touched the hearts of everyone she met & will be sadly missed by everyone who met her."
A GoFundMe page set up by Watton to help the Edwards family has raised $26,560 as of publication, far exceeding its goal of $15,000.
"I know there are no words to comfort Ruby's mum & dad right now as they try their best to navigate through this incredibly tough time so I was hoping to try & help them financially," she said.
"Any donations, no matter how large or small, would be greatly appreciated; if you aren't in a position to donate, could you please share this with your family & friends."