Ruane ya good thing Brave Saoirse Ruane records song with her mum as special music festival to raise funds gears up for broadcast
Eight-year-old Galway girl Saoirse Ruane will be the toast of some of Ireland's biggest music stars today at an online festival in her honour.
Saoirse's Summer Fest will be headlined by pop and country music acts including Kodaline, Keywest, Mike Denver and Cliona Hagan, plus comedy stars such as The Two Johnnies and Rory's Stories.
Talented singer and musician Saoirse, who had her right leg amputated below the knee in March due to a cancerous tumour, has also recorded Miley Cyrus's inspirational hit, The Climb, with her mum Roseanna.
"Saoirse has been struggling a little bit with the side effects from chemo, but we got a good day a few weeks ago and recorded the song at Paddy Jordan's studio in Ardrahan," Roseanna tells the Sunday World.
"She'd never heard the song before, but I think it's nice because the words are so appropriate. She just listened to it over a day or two and that was it. She's very quick to pick up music and we did it on the second take."
Roseanna, who is a wedding singer, continued: "When she was old enough, Saoirse would come with me when I was singing at weddings, and she saw how it was all done. She'd sing along and I used to say to her jokingly, 'they've booked me to do a job, they didn't book you.'
"She loved all of that, then she started going to music lessons three years ago and learning the harp. She has a very natural singing voice and she plays by ear, the way I do. It's no bother to her, she picks up things very fast."
Roseanna said it was her own ambition to do a recording with her daughter after the tumour was discovered in her leg. "Personally, when she got sick, you know the way loads of things go through your head, that was one of those things," she says.
"I wanted to get her to record a song with me. I didn't know what I'd ever do with it, but I wanted to have it. We were to do it back in March, but she wasn't well enough, and then Covid happened. We finally got to do it to tie in with the festival this weekend and it's been getting a great reaction on social media and on the local Galway Bay FM radio. She's also had appearances on Ireland AM on Virgin Media and on TG4."
The Sunday World recently told how, after complaining of an ongoing pain in her leg and developing a limp, Saoirse was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a cancerous tumour in the bone that affects an average of three young Irish people under 16 every year.
The tumour was in her tibia, and in January Saoirse's parents were told that their daughter's right leg would have to be amputated below the knee.
Saoirse, who showed great courage during her horrific ordeal, is receiving ongoing chemotherapy. "It's actually getting tougher on her as it goes on," Roseanna reveals.
"It's taking its toll. She was delayed a whole week for her last chemo because of side effects. She was so weak, she wasn't even talking. She wasn't eating for about a week, and we had to build her up after that. You're building her up to face her back into more of the same chemo, but she's good at the moment."
A fundraising campaign, Save Our Saoirse, launched to raise €160,000 for her medical costs and prosthetics, has reached its target. Funds raised today from the Saoirse Summer Fest virtual concert will be donated to several charities.
"We decided then that we'd like to give a little bit back to the charities that helped us along the way, including Crumlin Children's Hospital and the Irish Cancer Society," Roseanna says.
"Saoirse's not the only one out there that's fighting a battle, but it's so lovely to see that the nation has fallen for her because she's just so loveable, and she's gotten such positive feedback from everyone."
Saoirse's favourite pop band Kodaline, who head up today's online concert performances, visited the young fan in Crumlin hospital before her major operation and serenaded her with one of their hit songs.
"It was absolutely amazing and gave Saoirse a huge lift," Roseanna said.
- You can watch Saoirse's Summer Fest today from 3pm to 11pm, and listen to her song, The Climb, on saoirsesummerfest.com