'Crazy, fun-loving, forever-smiling' Whangarei woman loses battle with rare disease

Ruby Hill was described as a "strong, intelligent, articulate young woman."
Ruby Hill was described as a "strong, intelligent, articulate young woman." Photo credit: Facebook

A 23-year-old woman who has battled a rare, incurable disease for the last four years has died.

Ruby Hill's body has given up the fight against gastroparesis, a disease that paralysed her stomach and meant she was not able to absorb nutrients.

The 23-year-old has struggled to keep food down throughout her journey with the incurable illness, and last month the young adult's weight dropped to just 22kg.  

Ruby's mother Jo shared the news of her daughter's passing on her personal Facebook page last night.

"Rubz unfurled her wings and took flight today. The miracle of her staying didn't happen but so many did," Jo wrote.

"All your love and prayers were felt by her... she said the energy was beautiful."

Jo wrote that she was "heartbroken but heart warmed" and she "couldn't have asked for more love" than what Ruby gave.

"Walking alongside a crazy fun-loving forever smiling lunatic, there was never a dull moment!" Jo wrote.

"I see her beaming away - free of her body and waiting to see what party I give her! She's left a few instructions, of course."

The 23-year-old has been unable to absorb nutrients for the past four years.
The 23-year-old has been unable to absorb nutrients for the past four years. Photo credit: Supplied.

Jo ends the post by thanking all of her family and friends, and those that travelled to see her and her daughter. She promises the party details will follow.

Ruby spoke to Newshub in January, when doctors had sent her home to die. Medical professionals had exhausted all available treatment options, with no success.

In January, Ruby made a last attempt at life, by trying a new cannabis treatments in Canada.

She told Newshub cannabis products were the only thing that provided her with relief through the constant pain she had to endure.

"The only treatments in New Zealand are opioid medications but I had severe reactions to everything they tried to put me on," she said.

Canada legalised marijuana for medical use in 2001, and Ruby hoped travelling there will give her the freedom to use the drug for treatment that is not yet legal in New Zealand.

"I started researching clinics in Canada a couple of years ago and it became more and more appealing to me to get over there, it's ticking something off my bucket list," she told Newshub.

Ruby managed to check off the visit to Canada before her passing, thanks to the "phenomenal" donations she received.

"I'm speechless," Ruby told Newshub at the time.

"The generosity of people is the reason why I continue to put one foot in front of the other; I feel the love so much."

Ruby had to suffer through "unimaginable" things.
Ruby had to suffer through "unimaginable" things. Photo credit: Supplied.

Ruby shared her experience to Facebook in late January.

She explained there was no stigma around cannabis use in Vancouver, and the drug was valued for its medical use.

"It shocks people here that some of our NZ experts preferred me to be on 10mg, the highest allowable dose of ketamine, to me using cannabis. It's a horse tranquilliser," she wrote.

The 23-year-old wrote she had met with CEOs of cannabis companies, and had attended appointments with a cannabis clinic.

"I have been getting relief and finding what works for me. So good to sleep for more than two hours!" she posted.

Ruby wrote that she had no luck with nutrition yet, and in April posted on Facebook that she had had a rough couple of months, but she wasn't done yet.

"You think I'm stubborn well there's a Mum that's still on a hot trail of healing... Keeping going has definitely been due to the CBD and cannabis I use, and the amazing love and support I am given from my people," Ruby wrote.

Her mother Jo Hill previously told Newshub she was incredibly proud of her daughter.

"I have seen her suffer through unimaginable things but she's always stayed a strong, intelligent, articulate young woman."



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