Ten years on, mum tells tragic tale
TEN years ago the plight of "the little girl who couldn't cry" touched the nation's hearts.
The story of Phoebe Davies' fight for life turned into a massive fundraising campaign for the life-saving surgery she needed to correct the heart defect she had been born with.
It was her parents' grit and determination which also seemed to strike a chord with people.
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In particular, it was Phoebe's straight-talking mum Ruth, from Walmer, who most journalists wanted to talk to and who became the focal point of the fundraising.
But Phoebe, who was 20 months old, did not survive the £80,000 surgery, which was performed in Canada.
Now, a decade on, Ruth, 44, has spoken exclusively to the Express, reflecting on her daughter's short life and the heartaches she has endured since.
In a two-part special report, she recalls how it was her choice to turn off the life support machine of the desperately ill Phoebe.
Ruth reveals the pain of losing her husband Kevin, who died five years later, and how her experiences spurred her into becoming a businesswoman.
She said: "It's been interesting. It's not what anyone would want to have gone through.
"But I suppose I've come out the other side OK."
Ruth has since remarried, to Michael Clist, who helps run the business, RV's Funfactory, in Whitfield.
And next week, she reveals the unbelievably moving private diary of her daughter's death.
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