Saoírse Ruane, the Co Galway girl (12) who raised millions for charity after Toy Show appeal, dies from illness

Saoírse Ruane (12) from Co Galway passed away on Tuesday after a long-running battle with cancer.
Saoírse Ruane (12) from Co Galway passed away on Tuesday after a long-running battle with cancer.

A young Co Galway Girl who raised millions for charity after being supported by a Toy Show appeal has died after “a long, courageous and dignified battle” against cancer.

The family of Saoírse Ruane (12) confirmed she passed away on Tuesday, having been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in 2019.

She had appeared on RTÉ's annual Late Late Toy Show in November 2020 to talk about her treatment and launch a fundraising appeal.

Having to have her right leg amputated as part of her treatment, her bravery inspired the public to contribute millions of euros to benefit children’s causes in Ireland.

A recent charity single, Sing for Saoírse, also raised more than €60,000 towards a Galway foundation for sick children.

In late 2023, her mother Roseanna had confirmed her daughter had returned to treatment after a fourth cancer diagnosis.

Posting a tribute on Instagram, her parents Ollie and Roseanna and sister Farrah Rose wrote: “After a long courageous and dignified battle our hearts are shattered to tell you our beautiful little Saoírse took her final breath in our arms on Tuesday. “We thank you our lovely followers for holding Saoírse and us in your thoughts these past few weeks. “We think of you all today also as we know how much Saoírse was loved by the nation and the effect she had on so many people’s lives.

“Cancer you stole her from us, the life we had and our dreams. Life will never be the same.” A former pupil of Kiltullagh National School, a family notice said the funeral will take place this Sunday at St Peter & Paul’s Church, Kiltullagh.

Requestin privacy while they grieve, the family have also requested that any dontations in lieu of flowers are made to Galway Hospice.