Saoirse’s summer festival
Childhood illness can strike without warning. Sometimes a seemingly harmless complaint can be the precursor to a serious illness. For parents Roseanna and Ollie Ruane, their lives have been a whirlwind the last few months after their young daughter Saoirse was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer. The Galway family now call CHI at Crumlin their second home as Saoirse receives a rigorous regimen of chemotherapy.
“Saoirse was an ordinary seven year old girl who came home from school one day complaining of a pain in her ankle. That then developed into a limp and then she was seen by our GP and referred onto A&E. They felt it was a broken bone and sent her home on crutches, which was the Friday night of the RTE Toy Show last November,” says Roseanna, Saoirse’s Mam, “then two days later the hospital rang us to say that she was to come in because they had been looking at the x-ray, and they wanted to rule out abnormalities. So we went in and spent the whole day there doing different tests. Really we didn't know what to expect. I suppose there was a little bit of a doubt in the back of my head but I was trying not to dwell on that. They then decided to admit her for an MRI, and when we got up to the ward the team were there on the corridor to meet us. I knew then that there's something happening.
We were brought into a room, and it was explained that they were either looking at an infection or a tumour. A tumour just rang out for us. From there it was a biopsy, and the confirmation that she had Osteosarcoma. That took over a week but we knew leaving Crumlin after the biopsy that it was malignant and aggressive.
She started the chemotherapy a week later, she's still on chemotherapy and she will be on it for the next while. It's intense because she's up and down to Crumlin a lot. Because of where the tumour was situated in her tibia there was no other option but to remove her leg. So we travelled up on St. Patrick's night up to Crumlin, me, Ollie [her Dad] and Saoirse. She had surgery the following morning. Then of course COVID19 was present as well so it was really difficult. Everything was locking down and restrictions were getting harder.”
Despite their world been turned upside down, Roseanna and Ollie’s minds turned to their love of music, which they had lovingly passed onto Saoirse. They organised ‘Saoirse’s Summer Festival,’ an online music and comedy festival to take place on Sunday 2nd August.
“It kind of went from having a private Zoom gig to having three bands back to back to having a summer festival, and a free concert for all. We have the option to donate so that we can give back to the charities that have been on this journey with us. Now is the time to do it. We got a great committee and team on board and we'll share whatever we raise between Saoirse and the five charities who have been with us on this journey - CMRF Crumlin, the Irish Cancer Society, Aoibheann's Pink Tie, Hand in Hand West in Galway and the Oncology Unit in University of Galway where she goes every week for her bloods, and also has had a couple of stays in there.
It's getting great feedback and good positivity. We got some really good acts together. I suppose the one that we were trying to grab for so long was Kodaline, and we managed to nab them, which is huge! I can't believe it and we've got some really brilliant acts like Tadhg Fleming from Kerry and he's never done anything like this before and it will add a bit of humour. Whether it's €5 or €500 it really doesn't matter as long as people let their hair down during the day and enjoy it. If people can donate brilliant.”
Music is at the heart of the Ruane family, and recently Roseanna and Saoirse recorded an emotional rendition of ‘The Climb’ to illustrate the massive mountain the family are climbing together.
“I sing, I'm a wedding singer and I would have recorded a couple of times but we only had to do it twice. Saoirse is a natural. She's at that age where it's not even a confidence thing. We as adults over-think stuff. She was just so relaxed. She was on a really good day in between chemo. She listened to the song twice. She picks up music very fast, and she did an amazing job. She plays the harp as well. She started doing music at the age of two. She picked up the harp at the age of six. She chose that as her instrument, which was a huge shock to me but she loves it.
The support has been unbelievable. Even though we don't see people, our local camogie club organised a drive by in May. We stood at our gate, and it was a very emotional thing. That just showed how amazing our community is. We see the staff in Crumlin more than we would see our own family because we just can't take the risk. But we know the little gestures that people do just shows that everyone is rooting for her. It's the first time our community has been hit with something like this. They're just amazing.”
- Roseanna, Saoirse’s Mam
With your support we will continue to do #WhateverItTakes
To find out more and to watch Saoirse’s Summer Festival on Sunday 2nd of August click the following link: https://saoirsessummerfest.com/
To donate to Saoirse’s Summer Festival click the following link: