7-year-old 'precious little boy' battling terminal cancer passes away in Cork

7-year-old 'precious little boy' battling terminal cancer passes away in Cork
Fionn Doyle (7) pictured with his mum Eimear and sister Saoirse (8). Fionn has leukaemia and is terminally ill and his family hope they get to spend Christmas day with him. Picture: Ciara Wilkinson.

All over the world fireworks ushered in the new year, but in a quiet corner of Co Cork, one of the brightest lights dimmed just a little, just for a short while.

Fionn Doyle, the boy who captivated people at home and abroad in his brave battle with leukaemia had passed away, now entering 2019 in a new place.

The seven-year-old will leave behind a lifetime of memories, not least the day back in August when his devoted parents threw him a birthday party that beat all.

A torrent of cards and presents were delivered under armed garda and fire brigade escort to his home in Kildorrery, in north Cork.

All the stops were pulled out, every effort made to create a truly special moment where a young boy's birthday could be both a fun, family affair, and a public event that reminded us all of the deep wells of humanity that exist along our highways and byways.

Fionn told the Irish Examiner: "It was really cool."

His mum, Eimear, had earlier issued a simple appeal on social media, inviting people to send her son - who had been diagnosed with leukaemia five years before - a birthday card. Thousands followed.

It came after the family had been told in May that the cancer was terminal.

From that point on it was all about enjoying every minute, every hour, stockpiling memories to take forward into the days when Fionn would no longer be around to share them.

It’s understood that saddest moment dropped shortly the other side of midnight on January 1

The Parish Priest in Kildorrery, Fr Eamonn Kelleher, summed it up. "The whole parish of Kildorrery kept Fionn and his family in their prayers.

There was immense affection for Fionn and his family. In the parish and beyond people did everything they could to support them.

"There is just a great sadness that has descended on Kildorrery at the news," he said, describing Fionn as "a precious little boy" and someone "of immense character and charm".

The Doyles had celebrated Christmas early on December 8 in case Fionn left them ahead of the big day. Santa delivered presents for him and his older sister, Saoirse, Eimear and dad Jack had the Christmas dinner made, the crackers were pulled. Eimear had said: “It would mean the absolute world to us to have Christmas Day with Fionn.

“It is our greatest hope and it is getting closer."

They made it, and they even made it again, this time into a new year, but beyond that just wasn’t to be.

It was a countdown of a different kind - each second was precious. "They wanted to have every moment with him," Fr Kelleher said.

It was announced last night that a Mass of the Angels will be held in Kildorrery for Fionn this Thursday.

Back in August Eimear wrote: "We didn’t dare dream back in May we’d get there but as the day is getting closer we want to plan to give him the best birthday we possibly can."

They did, and much more, along the way giving thousands of people who never met Fionn the enduring image of his face lighting up in sheer joy as his birthday dreams came through.

Here and in countless other places, the light cast by the little boy from Kildorrery shines on.

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