Saoirse Fitzgerald, A Fighter The Whole Way Through

Danvers resident, 18-month-old Saoirse Fitzgerald passed away on Dec. 13 after a seven-month cancer battle.

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.

Krista Perry December 13, 2011 at 09:56 PM
What a heartbreaking story. Kudos to Molly for telling such a tough story in a truly sensitive way.
Aubry Bracco December 14, 2011 at 04:14 AM
Thank you to the Fitzgerald family for sharing your story. Kezia, you and your beautiful daughter were an inspiration to meet in Salem in October. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
Stella December 14, 2011 at 04:13 PM
Do we have any news about funeral arrangements? I live in Alabama and would like to do or send something to help celebrate Saorise! What an inspirational family to all!
Amy Nelson December 14, 2011 at 04:15 PM
Me and my 18 month old daughter Brooke met Kezia and Saoirse at the mom and baby group in Beverly last summer. I feel so lucky that we had the chance to know Saoirse and Brooke and Saoirse shared toys and puffs together while their moms talked diapers and such. The family is so amazingly strong and wonderful. My heart breaks for them as the mother of a baby girl the same age. There is a candle light vigil planned tonight to show our love and support. For those interested in attending, please email me at amyn@alumni.unh.edu and I can give you the details.
Angelique Murillo December 14, 2011 at 06:31 PM
All of my love thoughts and prayers to you. Words cannot possibly explain my sadness for you, and my sincere admiration for your courage. Thank you for sharing your angel with me.
kendra garabedian December 15, 2011 at 02:12 PM
I agree and I am so sad to hear she lost her battle.


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