Goodbye, brave soul

If you follow our blog, you know about our friend and former co-worker, Kezia Fitzgerald. Her infant daughter, Saoirse, was diagnosed with stage 4 Neuroblastoma, a little-known type of cancer. For nearly all of her short life, Saoirse courageously fought the disease, withstanding treatments that would leave the rest of us wrecked and miserable. We’ve seen so many photos of Saoirse during her hospital stays that show her smiling and loving the company of her parents. To those of us looking in from the outside, it truly seemed as if everything being done was beginning to yield some positive results and she was responding well to the chemo. All the more devastating to get the phone call that on Monday morning, December 13, Saoirse lost her 8 month battle with Neuroblastoma.

Neuroblastoma develops from tissues that control vital body functions like heart rate, blood pressure, digestion and hormones. 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 said. “It’ll never take away anything she stood for.” The couple are still trying to deal with how their lives have irrevocably changed. But in a recent post on her own blog, New Mom …. New Cancer, Kezia says that when they’re prepared to get back to the real world, they’d like to continue Saoirse’s fight against Neuroblastoma. “We will take on the world. Show everyone that Saoirse meant something, and that she will change the way the world sees childhood cancer. Maybe I’ll become a parent advocate and help other parents sort through the wash of information at the time of diagnosis. Hmmmm…..that might be a good place to start.” Kezia also told us that they will also be working to raise funds for more clinical trials that focus on quality of life and less toxic treatments along with early detection.

We encourage you to read each of Kezia’s and Mike’s blogs. They’re both well-written and the honesty that they display is riveting. It certainly changed our lives. We’re grateful to Kezia & Mike for taking the time and effort to share their amazing daughter with us, amidst the chaos and grief that life had thrown at them. The memory of little Saoirse will continue to shine in our thoughts and inspire us whenever we need to be reminded of how precious all life is.

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