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Baby who fought cancer with mom dies
December 16th, 2011
04:40 PM ET

Baby who fought cancer with mom dies

A 1-year-old girl whose family was profiled on CNN.com died Tuesday after a seven-month struggle with a childhood cancer.

The stories of the child, Saoirse Craig Fitzgerald, and her mother, Kezia Fitzgerald, were told this fall because they were both diagnosed with cancer - albeit different types - within five months of each other.

In the Fitzgerald family, a household of three, cancer struck twice.

Shortly after Kezia learned she had Hodgkin's lymphoma, her daughter was diagnosed in May with neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer that destroys a young nervous system by turning nerve cells into tumors. Cancer is "staged" to indicate its spread and Saoirse had stage 4, the furthest the disease can progress.  Kezia had stage 3 cancer, which is now in remission.

Saoirse, who is shown in this photo gallery from the September story, was a curious, playful girl who loved petting the family dog, Fallon, cuddling with her parents and watching "Sesame Street."

The cancer she had, neuroblastoma, develops from tissues that control vital body functions like heart rate, blood pressure, digestion and hormones, according to U.S. National Library of Medicine. It's unclear what causes neuroblastoma, but researchers believe the genetic mutation that contributes to the cause occurs during pregnancy or soon after birth.

"This robbed me of my daughter,"  her father, Mike Fitzgerald said.  "It'll never take away anything she stood for."

Despite  aggressive treatments, the neuroblastoma returned seemingly stronger each time.

Saoirse endured eight rounds of chemotherapy - many of them lasting for days. She endured the harsh chemicals and surgery that removed both her adrenal glands.  She did what 1-year-olds do - smile, dole out high-fives to the hospital staff and chase after her mommy and daddy.

In November, the family received more bad news. Saoirse's cancer had returned after surgery, this time in her skull. Not a week later, her liver became enlarged and swollen, because the cancer had overtaken the organ.

Saoirse's breathing became labored.  She couldn't sleep because she had to stay awake  to breathe.

"It was labored and violent in the last few hours," her father said. "She was breathing 60-90 breaths a minute. All her energy was spent on breathing."

Her parents put on "Curious George" and "Sesame Street" to calm her. Looking at the images on her iPad, she uttered, "Elmo."

Doctors prepared for a risky intubation procedure, hoping that a breathing tube would help her.

Mike Fitzgerald crouched next to his daughter and whispered into her ear: "You're safe. It's OK to relax. It's OK to go to sleep. Doctors are going to look at you. Mommy and Daddy are right here."

Her eyes were swollen, but she made eye contact with her mommy and daddy.

At 6:47 a.m. Tuesday, Saoirse died.

Her memorial service will be held on Saturday. Guests are prohibited from wearing black.

Her family's Facebook page and blog are here.


soundoff (106 Responses)
  1. Drew

    What a beautiful child she was – my heart goes out to the family.

    December 16, 2011 at 17:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Tia

    As a mother who recently lost her little boy to cancer, I have to say that the dying process of their child should be sacred and not shared with the public. These were the last few moments this family spent with their daughter. It's a horrible thing to watch and I wouldn't want others to have to picture the suffering the child endured. Those are moments the parents should keep private. My heart goes out to this family. There is no way to express the pain you feel from losing a child.

    December 16, 2011 at 18:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Franny

      Tia, first of all, I;m so sorry for your great loss. However, having lost a child myself? I must say you're wrong to dismiss anyone's grief as the wrong way. We all grieve in our own way, and whatever helps? that's what a Parent must do. Just like you have every right to grieve as you wish, but to judge others in their way of grieving is wrong. Again, I'm so sorry for the loss of your child, and I pray for your comfort, and peace.

      December 17, 2011 at 08:01 | Report abuse |
    • Susan

      Tia, I can try to imagine how it felt to loose your child. Even just my thinking about it is almost to painful. I think grief and loss that is shared can help with healing. I think like the previous poster, it helps with research. Sometimes we can learn how to handle a horrible loss from someone who "has walked in those shoes."

      December 17, 2011 at 08:40 | Report abuse |
    • heather Orsborn

      I lost my husband almost a year ago to lung cancer. God bless you and your family.

      December 17, 2011 at 22:08 | Report abuse |
    • A Grey

      I think you should allow people to grieve their own way. Who are you to define the right and wrong way of grieving? What if someone told you they way you grieved for your child was wrong? Do you want to tell them it's inappropriate for them to not have people wear black at her funeral? Mourn your own son your own way but leave other people alone.

      December 18, 2011 at 01:01 | Report abuse |
    • Jamie

      Everyone grieves in their own way. I am sorry you lost a child and sorry for the Fitzgerald family for their loss. However, the family did this so people can be aware of this horrible cancer. Props to them for having the courage to do this in such a difficult time.

      December 18, 2011 at 11:14 | Report abuse |
    • Diana

      Tia, I am so very sorry for your loss. No one should have to lose a child. I would like to say, however, that each person should be able to choose with whom, and how, they share their story. If it helps the Fitzgerald family to share their little Saoirse's last moments, that is entirely their business. RIP Saoirse (and your son, as well).

      December 18, 2011 at 12:27 | Report abuse |
    • DEAR TIA! And anyone agreeing with Tia

      Sharing this story IS in fact IMPORTANT! For one, it is not for the sake of exploiting this child, but for the sake of raising awareness about this horrible, deadly, under-rated, disease! Without raising the awareness, this child died as a statistic in the science world. THIS is where the unjust betrayals of her sacred life and death are told. She is not a statistic! She was a valuable human life. This disease is real. It's out there. It's a killer of INFANTS. They should not have to die in silence. Those with biased voices need to speak up for these children, because no one else will. Because children themselves can't. Their families and loved ones are who can make a difference, and without that, more children die of this disease. It is the voices of those affected by tragedy that make these changes happen. Raising awareness raises money for research, encourages research, encourages preventative actions, produces treatments! You are in no right to go around accusing grieving parents of blasphemy until you've been in their shoes yourself! Do not go around trying to make mourning parents feel that they are betraying their child! This is very wrong of you to do. These are two people who are grieving in their own way. However they feel they need to do so to feel better is none of your concern. This is not a place to be passing judgement right now. Shame on you. Not them.

      December 18, 2011 at 14:53 | Report abuse |
    • Laurie

      Thanks but MY family are happy to share this story so we can make everyone aware. Kezia & Mike opened up their lives to the world. As I sat in the front row of the Memorial Service for MY (not yours) Cousin Saoirse, I was amazed but the strength of these parents/ I am sorry for your loss but it is not your place to judge!

      December 18, 2011 at 16:02 | Report abuse |
    • Jennifer O'Dell

      Wow Tia.... First there were no words for the levels of anger i felt at your heartless comments. This wonderful family has been through hell and back only to lose their precious baby in the end.. I would have thought that you having been through a similar situation would have had thoughts of strength and hope to send their way. All I can hope is that you are still grieving and that your grief took over as you wrote that post. I have followed this family's fight since their CNN story and I can tell you that they want people aware of this disease that takes babies away from their loved ones. They're in no way trying to get attention unless it's for the continued research and education of this horrible catastrophic disease. They can grieve in any dang way they want.. How would you like it if someone told you that the way you grieved over your child was wrong.. Take a long look in the mirror before you spread your ill opinions on these wonderful people. Shame on you..

      December 18, 2011 at 23:20 | Report abuse |
    • Summer819

      I'd like to say I'm so sorry for your loss. Having two children myself, the mere thought of losing one of them leaves me breathless.
      However, I agree with several others in that each person/family has the right to fight through any illness or grieve in their own way. What may have been a good way for you and your family, may not have worked for the Fitzgerald's. If anything, the knowledge of their fight may have brought on more support...and I cannot imagine needing more support than with the illness or loss of a child. My prayers and thoughts go out to you, the Fitzgerald's and anyone else dealing with an ill child or loss of a child. God bless.

      December 19, 2011 at 11:28 | Report abuse |
    • rh

      I am sorry for your loss. Different people cope in different ways. If they felt sharing the story was more important that keeping their grief private, that is up to them.

      I am much more offended by the media showing pictures of murderers and rapists as if we want to see their ugly twisted faces.

      December 19, 2011 at 12:20 | Report abuse |
    • Ruth M

      I just want to echo what others are saying here to you Tia. I'm so sorry for you're loss and can understand your point to a degree. However I know first hand that Mike and Kezia only shared their story for altruistic reasons. Infant death is often very taboo, but in this case Saoirse's story is out there and thousands of people know about neuroblastoma as a result. Good luck to you Tia.

      December 19, 2011 at 20:51 | Report abuse |
  3. Jenna

    The more that people care, the more that people will care about donating and funding research to end cancer. Maybe that's why they allowed a private moment to be shared with strangers.

    December 16, 2011 at 19:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Laura

    This is such a sad story. I also can't help but think that there is something in their environment that caused them both to get cancer so closely together. Even if it was different types, they could be caused by the same environmental factor.

    December 16, 2011 at 21:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nellage

      or something inherited. It is certainly not common to have both a young adult and a child with cancer in a family unless they inherited some mutant gene. Genetic counseling would certainly be wise to consider.

      December 17, 2011 at 00:13 | Report abuse |
  5. Nicole

    Like so many, I have been following this story ever since CNN first posted anything about this family. My heart truly breaks for them. So truly, deeply sorry for your loss. Your daughter was a beautiful little lady, a fighter and a true inspiration to so many. She will never be gone, as she will continue on in the hearts and minds of those of us touched by her story.

    December 16, 2011 at 21:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Nellage

    the more people cry over the tragedy of loosing a child to cancer the more will be done about ending such deaths. Childhood cancer is rare, but it is the leading cause of disease-related deaths in children. Tumors in children, especially in babies, are also frequently more aggressive and detected late when they have already spread. These poor kids cannot even express themselves, they do need a voice, as they should not have to suffer alone.

    December 16, 2011 at 22:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • rh

      Neuroblastoma in particular is very bad; children have it from before they were born, so there is not much chance of survival 😦

      December 19, 2011 at 12:21 | Report abuse |
  7. Absynthe

    Soairse, she's like the poster child of why we need more donations to fight cancer, even in such young kids. I don't mind the parents sharing her last moments – they didn't know they were going to be. They intubated her, to help this little angel sleep, and to regain some of her strength, poor baby!

    I've spent much time with so many loved ones dying of cancer, that I've learned this simple fact: just being there means the world to them. They know you could go out running around, doing anything but watch them dwindle. To me, they're all human beings – each and everyone of them.

    This is something that the world is missing, from Michael Jackson's Charity work: he'd donate equipment much needed in those cancer wards for the dying kids so very much needed. He'd give each and every kid a hug, and a toy. He helped one with an organ transplant. The side the media ignored, because good deeds don't sell. This is what I'm remembering, and helping with this Christmas.

    December 16, 2011 at 23:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Elspeth

    May this beautiful little girl rise up with angel wings and see nothing but beauty and feel nothing but joy. May her forever mommy and daddy have peace knowing there is no more pain for Saoirse. May her mommy be blessed with a permanent cure. And may the doctors find a cure so that no more babies need suffer from this horrible disease.

    December 17, 2011 at 00:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. sad sad

    dam i was hoping for a different outcome. My condolences

    December 17, 2011 at 00:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. sad sad

    could it be that the one year old had an ipad cell phones emit radiation an ipad emits about 10x the radiation.

    December 17, 2011 at 00:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • TravelAmy

      She only received the iPad in the past couple of weeks. No cause there.

      December 17, 2011 at 00:51 | Report abuse |
    • Sarcasmo

      There is no evidence whatsoever that cell phones or RF radiation pose any concrete threat to human health. So don't panic and throw out your iPhone just yet.

      December 17, 2011 at 02:31 | Report abuse |
  11. Roxy

    Gd needed another angel ,My condolences to her family and many friends,She is watching over her Mom and Dad now and inspiring her to fight her cancer and win the battle so that her parents can continue the fight to help find a cure for childhood cancer that claimed her life and the lives of so any other children,

    December 17, 2011 at 01:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dawkins101

      "Gd needed another angel ". I weep for humanity at clueless, barbaric, uneducated and illogical statements like that.

      December 17, 2011 at 11:22 | Report abuse |
    • Janie

      No God I would ever willing believe in would kill babies in such a horrible, painful way. Statements like this make me sick. God forbid you ever have to whisper words for comfort to your baby while she dies.

      December 17, 2011 at 11:45 | Report abuse |
    • PoisonTrees

      (Job 34:10) Therefore, YOU men of heart, listen to me. Far be it from the [true] God to act wickedly, And the Almighty to act unjustly!

      January 1, 2012 at 17:54 | Report abuse |
  12. AEB

    This is so terrible. I really hoped that this little girl and her mom would win their battle with this awful disease. I hope many people hear this beautiful baby's story so that we never stop trying to find a cure.

    December 17, 2011 at 02:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Pat

    My condolences to Saoirse's parents and extended family. May you be comforted at this sad time knowing that many people, who saw your brave story on CNN, send you prayers and love...

    December 17, 2011 at 02:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Mike

    Normally we do not post, but I feel this is important. We chose to share our entire story because sometimes it takes such a tragedy to make news and to get the attention of people who can help raise money for the fight for a cure for Neuroblastoma specifically. Our sacred moments are not shared, those are our moments and everyone is different when it comes to those moments. We shared a story. We want people to donate to either our fund which can be reached through http://www.newmomnewcancer.blogspot.com or you can donate directly to a fund that specifically researches and looks for ways to make life better for children with Neuroblastoma specifically. Friends of Will at http://www.beatnb.org/
    Thank you and Tell everyone about our facebook http://www.facebook.com/fitzgeraldcancerfund

    December 17, 2011 at 08:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • pippi

      Mike, My heart goes out to you and your family. Your daughter was a beautiful inspiration to all. NEVER feel bad about getting your story out. I didn't know what Neuroblastoma was until I started following your story and I am but one person who followed your journey. Think about how many people have learned more about this disease because of your sharing? Thank you for letting us into your lives and sharing your beautiful daughter with us. She will be remembered.

      December 17, 2011 at 09:20 | Report abuse |
    • Nellage

      do not let others make you feel bad about sharing your story including your daughter's death. It should not be only their parents and the medical professionals taking care of them who have to live with the image of a dying child gasping for air. People have to know what cancer really is even if it's tragic and shocking. Sharing personal stories is what has been the most effective way of getting people into action and do something. I'm sorry for your loss but I'm sure that the legacy of your daughter will live on and will do good for people. We will be wearing colorful clothes today and watch Sesame Street with Elmo to celebrate Saoirse.

      December 17, 2011 at 13:05 | Report abuse |
    • Christina

      Mike,

      I think you are absolutely justified and correct in sharing your story to make people pay attention. I know it means little to most and people think it's a trite profession but I am an aspiring actress who is trying to make it so that I can break the mold and donate more than a my fair share of money to causes and towards finding a cure for childhood (as well as adult) cancers.

      I'm a stubborn woman who usually won't even let my husband see me cry but I wept openly after reading your story. My husband and I cried together and discussed the importance of my getting out there so that we can change the world. It is my one wish to make an impact and change the world...even if only by a small margin by donating to research and helping hands on to cure childhood cancers. I have shared your story on my Facebook along with a link to your blog.

      Please accept my deepest and most sincere condolences. You have a beautiful little angel watching over you always.

      December 17, 2011 at 23:10 | Report abuse |
    • Audra

      Mike,
      What you and Kezia have done has been the most selfless and courageous thing I have ever witnessed. You gave so many people a view into the reality of what neuroblastoma is and does, and what is involved in the tremendous fight that is necessary to fight it. And now you have given people a glimpse into what is involed in losing that fight. People see cute kids with no hair and it, clearly, doesn't have the impact necessary to increase awareness and bring in the dollars necessary to bring about early detection and, ultimately, a cure. And people like to think that, when you die from this horrible disease, you just close your eyes and go quietly, which is very much not the case. You and Kezia have probably done more towards that, at your own personal sacrifice, than anyone on the planet thus far. Keep going, Saoirse and what happened to her and your family will be the turning point. One day you will be able to say to her...'you did it baby girl, you did it'. And she will giggle that great giggle of hers.

      THANK YOU Mike and Kezia! Keep going, for her!!
      Audra

      December 18, 2011 at 11:58 | Report abuse |
    • Lori

      Mike & Kezia, thank you so much for sharing your story. I am so sorry for the loss of your beautiful daughter. You are so right about sharing your to educate people about this horrible disease. I followed another neuroblastoma struggle through the Marsh family and their little Layla Grace ( laylagrace.org) and because of that, my high school aged son wants to go into cancer research and he's coordinating a local fundraiser for neuroblastoma research in January 2012. Every little bit counts, and our family would not have had a clue if it wasn't for Shanna Marsh sharing her daughter's story. Again, I am so sorry for your loss and thank you for your bravery in letting us share a bit of Saoirse.

      December 18, 2011 at 23:04 | Report abuse |
  15. peter

    How sad, this dear sweet little girl gone, say she is with God all you want, how could a supposedly benevolent being allow such misery and heart break to occur!

    December 17, 2011 at 08:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Anonymous

    Mike, I have been following your and Kezia's story though your blog and from mutual friends. I have shed many tears over your story. Although I will not be attending the memorial service for Saoirse as I do not feel comfortable not knowing you all personally I wanted to mention what a great idea it is that you are not allowing black to be worn. I love that idea. She was a beautiful little girl and will never be forgotten.

    The ignorance of some people posting comments amaze me. This is a very unfortunate situation and I support your quest for further research and a cure having also lost a family member to Neuroblastoma. With the days following becoming increasingly difficult I hope you allow those around you to provide you and Kezia with whatever comforts you deserve.

    My thoughts and prayers will be with you.

    December 17, 2011 at 09:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Emily Barlow

    How truly awful. I am crying right now. My two year old is my whole world and I don't think I could live without her, let alone have the strength to watch her die of cancer. How incredibly brave those parents were. Each day we have with our loved ones is a gift. If time has no beginning or no end, perhaps today is for eternity. Those parents gave her the gift of life, the gift of sight, smell, touch, the gift of being loved, the gift of Elmo on Sesame Street. That's all we really can give our children; and hope that god and our ancestors are there to comfort them when they die so they are not alone.

    December 17, 2011 at 11:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Janie

    The last few sentences of this article are beyond heartbreaking. I can't even imagine having to comfort and console my daughter so she could feel comfortable enough to take her last breaths. I have a 3-year-old daughter and a baby on the way in March. This is my worst nightmare and my heart goes out to her parents. What wonderful, brave people you are.

    December 17, 2011 at 11:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Norma

    I followed this angels journey since CNN originally wrote about them and to have people react by saying ipads caused it or why are they sharing this with everyone you need to take a moment and think this little girl was 11 months when first diagnosed and her mother was battling cancer they turned to society to help us better understand things we forget that not all kids are being kids this was a baby not a toddler. Me being a mother of a 23 month old all I can say is they reminded me of something so small others take for granted and that it health. God bless them and Sairse will always live in each on of our hurts who followed her journey.

    December 17, 2011 at 12:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Kristi

    Incredibly sad story about an incredibly strong family. Why God would allow this much pain to come to such a family is incomprehensible; it makes you wonder what He had in mind. It makes you wonder if there IS a loving God.

    December 17, 2011 at 13:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ladyofargonne

      I don't know that there is a plan for this, but if there is it is remind the rest of us how much we have to be grateful for. I for one am going to go hug by grandchildren.

      December 17, 2011 at 14:53 | Report abuse |
    • PoisonTrees

      There is a very good reason he for a time is allowing suffering, and he certainly does not cause suffering. In fact he has made many beautiful promises and yearns to reunite this child with her parents by means of the resurrection. If you would like to know why he allows suffering and what hope there is for the dead please visit http://www.watchtower.org/e/bh/article_00.htm especially notice chapter 11 and 7.

      January 1, 2012 at 17:52 | Report abuse |
  21. danton

    oh/good god/you got the music in you/hay/for fun.....is that what you do?/
    ay, look out/aids and all its benefits...hes bigger than me does he get does he give/oh, good god/its the killer it seems/hay look now/just a disease..oh and bobbys' got mononucleoisis/Nirvana.....Miami Heat...call it Perastroyka/

    December 17, 2011 at 13:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. christina

    this breaks my heart. I have a 3 yr old and each and everytime I hear or see a story of a child passing way too young, it makes me think of my child. I hurt for the parents cause i could never have the strength to live without my son, or watch him suffer. thank you for sharing your story and i think of you and your daughter today. at least she is no longer suffering. i hope you find peace. ❤

    December 17, 2011 at 14:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. ladyofargonne

    What a tragedy. Makes me realize how very lucky I am. If you are healthy enough to Occupy anything – you have a lot to be grateful for.

    December 17, 2011 at 14:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Mare0568

    I choked up reading this as I have been following her story here on CNN and didn't realize that she had passed yesterday. My heart just aches for her and for her parents. I am glad that the poor little angel is no longer suffering but no child should have to go through what she did. I wish there were something I could say or do to make this easier on the parents but there just is nothing except I hope they know that many, many people truly care. Like Christina, I don't know that I'd have the strength without my children either. They are my whole reason for being. I would give my life for theirs. I've never for a moment not realized how lucky I am to have two wonderful children. They are the only perfect thing I've ever done. May the Fitzgerald's find the strength to go on. Rest in peace sweet baby.

    December 17, 2011 at 15:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Dani

    'God needed another angel'?
    But can't he let such beautiful, young, inspirational people just live out their lives with their loved ones first? These tragedies happen far, far too often these days...

    December 17, 2011 at 17:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Brandy

    My heart goes out to you. I cannot imagine what you are going through. She is a beautiful little girl. Rest in peace sweetheart.

    December 17, 2011 at 20:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Melissa

    My heart goes out to this family. I was diagnosed with cancer just before this story was published, and felt an instant bond to the family. Having to deal with my own treatments and my 2 one-year-olds–I couldn't imagine having to deal with a child going through the same thing. I feel so incredibly saddened by the loss of Saiorse. I have the greatest respect for her family and wish them any comfort they can find. I imagine only time will lessen their pain.

    December 17, 2011 at 20:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Mandi

    I am glad to see you on here Mike telling why you shared your story. Having just come from Saoirse's memorial service and hearing what you said, I was going to post why you shared it. I will be sharing it with others and donating to help you guys. September will never be the same for me or my family. For those of you who don't know, September is Pediatric Cancer Awareness month. We love you.

    December 17, 2011 at 21:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. BELIEVE

    MY TAKE IS GOD WORKS IN MYSTERIOUS WAYS SO JUST BELIEVE WHEN GOD SHUTS ONE DOOR HE OPENS ANOTHER! PUT ON YOUR ARMOR OF GOD AND WALK BODLY JESUS IS WITH NOW AND ALWAYS

    December 17, 2011 at 23:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. md2205

    Pain and death is something that humans cannot understand is good as it appears to be so anti-good. Intellectually, we know that G-d is good, all good, and only does good. But we feel the pain and it hurts, and so we think it is bad. But from G-d's point of view, the pain is good. That means it accomplishes something that must be accomplished for the good of the person – again, that is something that we do not understand. Why don't we understand it? Because our minds, our intellects, are infinitely smaller than G-d's mind. He is All-Knowing and we are certainly not. We only understand anything in a most limited way. It is similar to a small child whose mother takes him to the doctor for a vaccination. The mother knows that the vaccination is good for the child, but the child doesn't know that. He cries when he gets the shot, and then what does he do? He reaches out for his mother to hold and comfort him. The same mother who was the one who started all the pain by bringing him to the doctor! Why? Because one thing he knows – his mother does good to him. Imagine if there is a person from an island who never saw or heard of surgery. He comes to a hospital where they are going to do a surgery. He sees the surgeon taking a patient, lying him on a table, giving him a shot or putting a mask on him, and then taking a knife to cut him open! What does the observer do? He starts screaming at the surgeon, calling him a murderer, and tries to get the knife away from him! He doesn't realize that the surgeon is trying to help the patient, that the surgery is really good. Now all this doesn't preclude that a person who suffers a loss such as these parents are going to feel terribly sad, mournful, upset, etc. for a long time, or forever. And that is normal. That is our human condition. (It then becomes our job to help people in pain as much as we can.) If we understood what G-d understands, we would be Him.

    December 18, 2011 at 01:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Manda

    Please stop saying God neeeded another angel. God does not let children die because He "needs" them. My heart goes out to this beautiful family. The ugly side of pediatric/childhood cancer needs to be seen to get everyone behind finding a cure. The smiling faces and little bald heads do not portray the truth. Don't like hearing about it? Too bad. This is their life, her life, and it needs to be seen so more funding for research can be allocated. Your family is in my prayyers, thoughts and heart e

    December 18, 2011 at 02:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Julian

    Resto nella pace, Saoirse. Your spirit has taught us what we cannot teach ourselves. My thoughts & prayers goto the family. I would like to ask based on common sense. If your comment is along the lines god needed another angel to keep it to yourself. People die, how cute or how little does not mean god is opening a door.

    December 18, 2011 at 02:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. ed Bailey

    Laura I have very solid thoughts on your comments. There is in my opinion a 100% probability that something was lurking in that living area that is responsible. The government AND industry AND the medical professionals have conspired for a very long time to hide everything they can from the public. All of it done in the greedy spirit that they possess. I have seen many things like all four children in the Nolan family diagnosed with colon cancer before they were in high school. This is not random at all. The doctors know much more than they tell, same with the other two greedy criminal elements that control our fate. It is past the time to sit back and be a pacifist. The cause of sids has been known since the early 60's. I talked to one of the scientist that discovered the first sids cluster AND its cause. A federal judge ordered the gag ruling. We are being led by liars!

    December 18, 2011 at 03:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nellage

      you obviously have no clue about biomedical research. But for one, instead of blaming others why don't you start investigating tumor registries, which are public record, and prove if there is any link between cancer incidence and geographic location considering that such increase may only be noticed 10-20 years after exposure. If curing cancer were easy, it would have been done long time ago, trust me, scientists and doctors cannot imagine any better reward than discovering something and healing patients.

      December 18, 2011 at 08:38 | Report abuse |
    • Joe Resposa

      Ed – Your conspiracy is something I've pondered in the past regarding cancer. However, now that I AM a doctor - it's absolutely false. If I could find a cure for cancer, I would & I would spread it to the world. Any conspiracy cover-ups could NEVER overcome the other corporate greed – Good 'ol' fashion capitalism.

      December 18, 2011 at 20:28 | Report abuse |
  34. Sam

    There are no words at a time like this. You are all in our thoughts and we hope you find some peace in knowing that so many people came to love and admire Saoirse. She was a special little girl who won the hearts of so many. Please keep fighting this cancer for her and others who cannot. Much love to you and your family at this difficult time.

    December 18, 2011 at 10:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Christina

    I am truly sorry for your loss. Saoirse was a beautiful little girl who should be remembered and cherished. I know your family will do that. In our family both my sister and brother cancer at the same age. One had Leukemia at 23 and the other had Hodgkin's Lymphoma at 23. It is a hard road to go down seeing the pain and suffering. I truly believe that more research and attention needs to be given to the fight of this disease. Thank you for sharing your family's heartache and journey with us. God has a beautiful new little angel in Heaven.

    December 18, 2011 at 11:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Mary

    Just wanted to express my condolences to this family here... I have been following their story for several months and it breaks my heart that they lost their daughter. I have a daughter close in age to Saoirse and I can't imagine the pain and grief they're going through. The fact that they are still committed to doing whatever it takes to spread the word about this horrible cancer in this most difficult time speaks volumes about the type of loving, committed parents they continue to be to their darling daughter.

    December 18, 2011 at 11:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Marla

    Thank you for sharing Saoirse's journey and bringing awareness to pediatric cancer. She was an amazing little girl who was so brave and fought so hard through all of her treatment. It is heartbreaking that she lost her fight but she will never be forgotten. She touched so many lives...I am so sorry.

    And if I go, while you are still here…
    Know that I live on, vibrating to a different measure,
    behind a thin veil you cannot see through.
    You will not see me so you must have faith.

    I can't wait for the time when we can soar together again.
    Until then, live your life to the fullest and when you need me,
    Just whisper my name in your heart...
    I will be there.

    ~Emily Dickenson~

    December 18, 2011 at 11:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Lisa B

    God bless the Fitzgerald family. Throughout their terrible ordeal they shared their struggles and hopes and ultimate heartbreak with the world in large part to bring awareness to pediatric cancer. Selfless, loving, amazing humans. There's a little guardian angel watching over them and their continuing mission now. My heart breaks for all who loved and came to love Saoirse, she will never be forgotten.

    December 18, 2011 at 11:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Nancy

    God didn't "need" another Angel (He got my boy in April) It isn't anyones "fault" that they both got cancer at the same time. They were so open to share the last days of her life – not an easy thing to do. I did the same thing when my son died – we didn't tell every detail – that is for just us – but we wanted to share with people that had followed his journey all along.
    I pray for peace for her parents as they make it through the next days, weeks, months and years ahead without their beautiful baby girl. It won't get easier – it will just be different.

    December 18, 2011 at 12:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Amanda

    I believe that this family chose to share their story for the sole purpose of raising awareness for their daughter's disease. I am an RN (albeit not a pediatrics one) and I have never heard of Neuroblastoma. I have shared their posts and stories about Saoirse many times on my facebook and I talk about her to my husband all of the time. I have a 20 month old and you better believe that I hug him and kiss him everyday a little harder thinking of Saoirse. We as human beings get caught up in our day to day routine and rarely think of those who are less fortunate than us and need encouragement and a fighting voice behind them! As we would want the same for our own children....

    December 18, 2011 at 13:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Cyndi M (Illinois)

    I too held my first son as he passed away, just giving him the comfort to move from this life onto the next helped heal my own pain. My second son was diagnosed in 1999 when he was 4 with rhabdomyosarcoma, he endured 15 months of treatment and although he has been cancer free for 11 years now he has daily struggles with long term side effects. Watching one son die and another fight cancer has been a difficult journey. May the angels rest upon your shoulders and bring you peace and comfort knoing Saoirse will no longer have pain or discomfort.

    December 18, 2011 at 13:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. lulu616

    What a beautiful family. Thank you for sharing your story. She was an adorable little girl and I commend you all for fighting the good fight for her. Kezia, I'm happy your cancer is in remission, and wish you nothing but health and peace. I'm going into pediatric oncology as my profession, and this story, which moved me to tears, us such a great motivator to provide the best, and most sincere care to the little kiddos affected with cancer. Hugs to you all.

    December 18, 2011 at 13:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Michelle

    THanks for sharing this. This family is an inspiration for their love and sacrifice for their child.

    December 18, 2011 at 13:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Sarah

    I am so very sorry for your loss. I was so heartbroken when I heard that baby Saoirse had passed. She was a beautiful little girl. I can't imagine the pain your family must be going through. Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.

    December 18, 2011 at 22:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Stella

    I too, have followed this special family since reading their story on CNN a few months back. I too, had never heard of Neuroblastoma until I read Saoirse's story. I have become deeply attached to this family that I have never met. As a parent of a 3 year old you just never realize how much we should be appreciating good health. Our family will now make our charitable giving to be for Neuroblastoma research. We have to find a cure! These babies and families cannot continue to suffer with no options in sight. Thank you Mike and Keiza for sharing your story! It has changed my life! Much love from Alabama!

    December 18, 2011 at 23:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Girl6

    We whine about things in life like how we hate our jobs, how we have to do this and that and never think about situations like this and how fortunate and blessed we really are. Be thankful you have a job, a car, a home or even $10 in your bank account. Your life could be so much worse, God bless this family as they go through this.

    December 19, 2011 at 00:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Phyl

    May the wonderful memories that they have of this beautiful child help heal their broken hearts and pray that God will bless them in their healing process.

    December 19, 2011 at 08:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Amy

    What a privilege it was to know Saoirse even for the short time we had with her. My daughter Brooke and her met at mommy and baby group. What a beautiful smile and gorgeous eyes. My heart breaks for this family. Let's get more research for neuroblastoma and stop this.

    December 19, 2011 at 10:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. cp

    Oh dear God, I've been following this family and contributing to the fund ..Im heartbroken over this outcome..I have a new 6 month old grandbaby and there is something about children struggling thru the treatments that tears us to peices. I dont know why this family has suffered so much. I only believe that :
    "the last shall be first and the first shall be last" in the next level of life.

    December 19, 2011 at 16:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. jake1969

    Bigtime condolences to this family. I lost my mom to lung cancer just 2 weeks before my wife became pregnant with twins. Seeing her die from such a dreaded disease was the worst thing I've ever gone through. Our kids have now brought us the greatest joy in life. I cannot for the life of me imagine seeing what happened to mom happen to a prescious little child. So sorry for this family. I can on some level understand those who say such experiences should be private, but, to each's own...and more importantly, I echo what so many other posters have said here, by sharing this experience with the rest of the world, it definitely helps raise awareness to this disease and will inevitably lead to helping others. God bless them.

    December 21, 2011 at 11:52 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.