The mother of child cancer survivor Saoirse Ruane - who made a star appearance on RTÉ's Late Toy Show 20 months ago - said when her daughter was diagnosed with a second life-threatening tumour she was “so cross with God”.
Speaking on Monday about “The Power of Prayer in Difficult Times” at the Knock Novena Mass, Roseanna Ruane described the despair she and her family experienced following Saoirse’s diagnoses.
In December 2019, Saoirse, who was seven at the time, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called an Osteosarcoma tumour in her leg. It required months of chemotherapy and resulted in the amputation of her leg in March 2020.
In June, Saoirse, who is now 10, was told she had cancer for a second time and required an operation at Crumlin hospital, Dublin to remove a tumour from her lung.
“I was so cross with God at that stage. We hadn’t fallen out but I wondered why he let all of this sadness happen to someone so young, with her whole life in advance of her,” Ms Ruane told pilgrims.
“I soon realised it isn’t God. It isn’t any one person. God is there to guide us in troubled times, he is there to comfort, to listen, to heal and most importantly to teach us something very important: to be grateful.”
She added: “Seeing an adult go through cancer is very hard but to watch a child go through it is unimaginable.”
Ms Ruane said she and her husband Ollie faced fertility challenges, and attended fertility clinics before the birth of their second child.
“We fought so hard to have our children. And here we were fighting to keep Saoirse,” she added.
The family turned to God and St Padre Pio when Saoirse’s health was failing, and Ms Ruane said prayer gave her hope and courage during this time.
“You cannot imagine all that goes through your head when you were told your seven-year-old child may have cancer.”
Saoirse appeared on the Late Late Toy Show in 2020. Ms Ruane said seeing her sitting across from the show’s host Ryan Tubridy filled the family with “such unimaginable emotion and pride”.
“To us it was the biggest reward she could ever receive for enduring such a cruel illness,” she added.
Following Saoirse’s appearance on the show, members of the public expressed good will and support, particularly when she was undergoing surgery.
Ms Ruane added: “The relics, mass cards, holy water, candles, prayers, scapulars, oils are still coming through the door daily. For this we are eternally grateful.”