'Be More Ruby' charity inspiring dad of two to take on a marathon challenge

Mark Dryden will run more than 330 miles in memory of Ruby Stewart who died weeks before her seventh birthday in 2019.

‘Be More Ruby’ charity inspires dad-of-two to take on marathon challenge
Ruby died from a rare form of cancer in 2019

An Angus man is taking on a marathon challenge to raise funds in memory of a tragic six-year-old girl who died from cancer.

Mark Dryden from Arbroath will run from John O’Groats to Inchture on the outskirts of Dundee in memory of Perthshire girl Ruby Stewart, who passed away in 2019.

In total he’ll stride more than 330 miles in just twelve days for the Be More Ruby charity, crossing the finish line in her home village.

Mark Dryden told STV News: “I’d started doing mad challenges around Angus, so I was running to all the different towns from Arbroath and then my mother-in-law actually worked with Ruby through the after school club.

“She’d mentioned Ruby’s charity so I nipped onto the website and I watched a couple of videos with Ruby in it. It just completely melts your heart and by then I was just gripped.”

Ruby was four when she was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of aggressive cancer, which took her life just weeks before her seventh birthday.

Her mother and father, Claire and Andy Stewart, launched a charity and have so far raised almost £200,000 for research into the disease.

Ruby was also the inspiration behind the children’s book, ‘The Unicorn with the Ruby Horn’, a story Mark Dryden regularly reads to his own children.

Mark Dryden reading the book inspired by Ruby Stewart to his children.
Mark Dryden reading the book inspired by Ruby Stewart to his children.

Andy Stewart, Ruby’s dad, said: “To have started off with this idea of raising a bit of money to put towards research to then turn in to something that’s pushing £200,000 total is incredible.

“It’s something that we never dared dream about in terms of when we started it. To be supported by so many different people who want to do so many different things to help us.

“It’s really inspired us to keep going.”

After months of training, Mark will set off on Monday July 4. He’s hoping to be joined by plenty of supporters along the way as he plays his part in keeping the memory of remarkable Ruby alive.