WHEN Andrew Francis gave his 13-year-old daughter a cuddle in May, he noticed a lump in her lower back.

The Henry Box School pupil was examined by doctors, who diagnosed adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, a curvature of the spine.

Yet the youngster was out of Oxford Children’s Hospital within a week and was back home at Mountfield Road, Witney, last Monday. Now her parents are to take part in the OX5 Run in aid of the hospital.

Mum Dawn Francis, 44, said: “Of course we were very shocked, upset and worried for Ruby, but the doctors were very reassuring and we didn’t have to wait long for her to have an operation.”

Mrs Francis, a dental nurse, said: “Although Ruby was a little nervous, she was an absolute trooper.”

“The level of care and professionalism in the hospital is overwhelming. We all felt we were in completely safe hands.”

Ruby is not expected to need another operation. Mrs Francis added: “Running the OX5 is the least we can do. We did it a few years ago, before we had experienced what the hospital can do. This time around it will be so much more meaningful for us.”

Mrs Francis and 45-year-old Andrew, a milkman, will be cheered on by Ruby and her sister Helen, 17.

The ninth OX5 Run will take place at Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, on March 20.

Last April’s five-mile run saw more than 850 runners take part, raising £57,000.

Hospital fundraising manager Penny Hambridge said: “It is wonderful to hear how well Ruby is doing so soon after her spinal surgery, and we are delighted that her parents have been inspired to take part in the OX5 again.”

The Oxford Children’s Hospital was built in 2006 at the John Radcliffe Hospital, with £14m in donations meeting half the cost.

Children receive treatment for conditions including heart disease, chest problems, childhood cancer and neurological disorders. There are also general and specialist surgery services.

Oxford recruitment firm Allen Associates is sponsoring the event for the third year.

To get involved visit orhcharitable-funds.nhs.uk or call 01865 743428.