Six years ago, Ruby Seeto was crippled with a rare and fast-growing form of cancer.

After seven hours of surgery where 70 per cent of her gall bladder and a 1.6kg tumour were removed and a year of chemotherapy, the 15-year-old was nursed back to health.

Ruby was so grateful to the Starship children's hospital that she started designing tea towels to raise money. In five years, she has raised more than $200,000.

"I really wanted to give something back to them to thank them for my treatment," Ruby said.


This year, the St Cuthbert's student - who has just finished Year 11 - has based her Tree of Life design on the Starship video Once upon a Starship and it features the quote: "Starship saved my life, that's what they do every day."

Ruby teams up with linen retailer Wallace Cotton, who both produce and sell the tea towels for $10 - and once costs are deducted, $6 from each sale goes to the Starship.

She hopes to top last year's fundraising effort of almost $90,000.

Ruby, of Epsom, gets a check-up every six months just to be safe.

One of the children who has been helped by the money raised is Georgia Storey, 11, who finishes her treatment for leukaemia this week. Georgia has been receiving treatment since September 2010, so to be finally finished is "very exciting".

At one point, the Te Awamutu girl lost her straight, blonde hair. It came back - but it's now brown and curly.

Georgia and her family are going on a trip to the South Island to celebrate the end of lumbar punctures and chemotherapy.

Ruby's tea towels are available through Wallace Cotton stores (0800 222122) or