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Saoírse Ruane, who has died aged 12
Late Late Toy Show

Saoírse Ruane, who captured the hearts of the nation on her Toy Show appearance, dies aged 12

Saoírse passed away at home on Tuesday, surrounded by her family.


SAOÍRSE RUANE, A Toy Show favourite who inspired millions, has died aged 12.

Saoírse, from Co Galway, appeared on the Late Late Toy Show in 2020 and her family has said they are “shattered” by her passing. 

In a post on Instagram, her parents said Saoírse “took her final breath in our arms”. 

Her parents added: “We think of you all today also, as we know how much Saoírse was loved by the nation and the effect she had on so many people’s lives.”

They also asked for privacy following Sa oírse’s passing. 

During her segment on the Toy Show, Saoírse spoke about living with a rare form of cancer called Osteosarcoma.

Osteosarcoma begins in cells that form bones and caused Saoírse to lose her leg.

She showed off her prosthetic leg on the Toy Show – which had a picture of a unicorn on it – as former host Ryan Tubridy remarked: “How can a prosthetic leg be so beautiful?”

Saoírse was named one of Galway’s People of the Year in 2023.

She passed away at home on Tuesday, surrounded by her family.

Her funeral mass will be held at 2pm this coming Sunday in St Peter’s and Paul’s Church, Kiltullagh.

Saoírse’s family has encouraged those who wish to make a donation in her memory to do so to the Galway Hospice. 

In a post on Instagram, Tubridy remarked that when Saoírse told her story on the Toy Show, “the nation fell in love with her”. 

He added: “A selfless, humble, kind, optimistic and thoughtful child. She was everything we should and could be as a country and her passing will put so much into perspective for so many of us.

“The world is a poorer place without Saoírse but I do hope that twinkle in her eye shines on and on.”

President Michael D Higgins and Tánaiste Micheál Martin have also passed on their condolences to Saoírse’s family. 

President Higgins said Saoírse’s “strength and warmth was an inspiration to all”.

While Martin said he had “fond memories of meeting Saoírse and her mother in Croke Park, seeing her radiant smile and love of GAA”.

“She leaves behind an extraordinary legacy in the Toy Show Appeal,” added Martin. 

Speaking to RTÉ’s News at One, Denise Charlton, chief executive of Community Foundation Ireland, said Saoírse told her story on the Toy Show with a “calm positivity and resilience”. 

Charlton said the nation “really connected” with her. 

“People were trying to donate so much after she spoke. We raised €6 million that night, the Toy Show Appeal raised €6 million for children all over Ireland, but it was her story and her positivity and her generosity that evoked the generosity of others,” she said. 

With reporting by Hayley Halpin

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