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08th Mar 2024

‘Ireland won’t forget just how remarkable Saoírse Ruane was’

Kat O'Connor

Saoírse Ruane passed away on March 5th

The country is grieving the loss of the beloved Saoírse Ruane. The 12-year-old’s untimely death is something I haven’t stopped thinking about since her family confirmed the heartbreak on Thursday morning. I was on my way to work when a photo of Saoírse appeared on my Instagram feed.

My heart broke as I read the moving tribute her parents shared with their followers, but I couldn’t quite believe the news. No 12-year-old should ever have to deal with the health battle Saoírse faced so courageously. No 12-year-old should have their life cut so short by cancer.

The country feels less than following the loss of Saoírse, but we need to honour the Toy Show star by learning from her warmth, strength, and pure heart.

So many of us were first introduced to Saoírse when she appeared on the Late Late Toy Show. She won the hearts of the nation during her brief appearance on the show and we all continued to support her as the years went by. Saoírse’s mum invited us into their home by sharing updates on Saoírse’s cancer diagnosis, her hospital stays, and recent medical news. She felt like a friend to so many around this island, and it’s hard to believe someone so bright is gone.

News of Saoírse’s passing has put so much into perspective for many of us. It has shown me that we need to tell the people we love just how important they are to us while they’re still here. Seeing everyone from President Higgins to people I follow on Instagram pay tribute to Saoírse showed how important she was to this country. 

“Saoírse taught the nation to be more appreciative, more hopeful, and more kind”

Saoírse has been described as an ‘inspiration’ by many but I don’t think that word even comes close to how special she was. She was a child who faced something many of us can’t even begin to imagine. Treatment, surgeries, exhausting trips from her home in Galway to the hospital in Dublin, uncertainty, fear, and confusion. But time and time again, Saoírse appeared in public with a smile on her face and with her teddy, Slush, by her side.

She told her story to help raise vital funds for others. She continued to live her life despite her harrowing diagnosis. And she taught this island of millions to be more appreciative, more hopeful, and more kind. So many of us fail to look on the bright side of life because the darker days can weigh us down. We’ll grumble about a bad day at work or dwell on a conversation that bothered us, but we need to honour Saoírse’s legacy and show gratitude for what we have. 

At just 12 years old, Saoírse Ruane became one of the most treasured and impactful people because of her strength, bravery, and immeasurable spirit. There’s no doubt we’ll ever forget just how remarkable she was.

Saoírse Ruane’s family has asked the public to honour her by donating to the Galway Hospice.