At about 10 a.m. on Dec. 13, the Fitzgerald family shared with their friends and followers on Facebook the heartbreaking news, "Our baby has no more pain today. She fought the whole way through."
Saoirse, Mike and Kezia Fitzgerald's 18-month-old daughter, passed away following a seven month battle with Neuroblastoma.
Saoirse (pronounced Seer-sha, meaning "freedom" in Gaelic) was first diagnosed with Stage Four, nMYC amplified Neuroblastoma in May 2011, just three months after her mother, Kezia, had began treatment for an unrelated cancer, Stage Three Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Less than 24 hours after Saoirse entered the Children's Hospital in Boston, she began chemotherapy.
While the prognosis wasn't in their favor, the family . "It's important that Saoirse has her parents fully active through this the whole time," Mike said in July to Danvers Patch. "The emotional and spiritual aspect is important to her healing. We're not going to sit in here and let it get to us. You'll drive yourself crazy."
Saoirse had her first major surgery, a tumor resection, in September. The healing process was off to a good start, but was set back in October when they traveled to New York to begin antibody therapy and learned her extensive bone marrow biopsy was still showing disease, meaning Saoirse would have to .
During one of her breaks from the hospital, Saoirse participated in trick-or-treating as Uncle Fester, placing as a . Her prize money, a $1000 check, was donated to the Fitzgerald Cancer Fund, for her ongoing chemotherapy treatments.
Saoirse's parents each documented their feelings and experiences in separate blogs, New Mom New Cancer, and My Family Has Cancer X2. In their blogs they described their daughter as incredibly strong little girl who loved her faithful dog Fallon, learning, meeting new people, Curious George, and overall, life.
Last week, Mike posted an update on his blog that the neuroblastoma had spread and attacked Saoirse's liver. While he noted that she was staying tough, he wrote that it hurt him to watch his daughter in pain.
The previous day, mother Kezia blogged, "This has been a time of ups and downs, wins and losses, giggles and tears."
Hundreds of family members, friends, and international followers of their story posted comments to the family on their Facebook page, the Fitzgerald Cancer Fund.
Editor's Note: Danvers Patch extends its deepest sympathies to the Fitzgerald family at this difficult time.