Saturday 17 August 2019

'She was an amazing girl, her strength got us through this'

Widespread tributes for brave Sarah Robinson (17) who has died following cancer battle

The late Sarah Robinson
The late Sarah Robinson

Cathy Lee

Tributes for the late Sarah Robinson (17) of Twin Oaks, Gorey have been pouring in since she passed away peacefully at home last Thursday following an 11 month battle with a rare and aggressive osteosarcoma cancer.

The Gorey Community School student had a profound affect on her many friends and was an inspiration to others, particularly her younger peers at Gorey Rugby and Football Club, where she was a youth coach.

'She was an amazing girl and her strength throughout her illness was what got us through it, she didn't give up. Over the 11 months, she did a lot of growing up and took control of the situation. She dictated what way she was going to proceed and at all times, she was looking out for her brothers and Majella and myself,' said Sarah's father, David Robinson.

David also thanked the people of Gorey for their help and generosity over the last 11 months of Sarah's illness.

'There's so much good in people and in the town of Gorey and further, it was such a help,' he said.

On Friday, the Gorey Community School opened its doors to provide support to members of the school community, with an open book of condolences for Sarah which asked for memories of the fifth year student to be shared.

Her funeral took place on Saturday, and prior to this, Sarah had requested that all bright colours be worn on the day, which was more of a celebration of life than a occasion of sorrow. In St Michael's church, the tributes to Sarah continued as there was a piece of her to be remembered at every available stage, from favourite songs played to token seeds to take as a keepsake.

After mass, an ice cream truck was parked outside for all who were presented, and following this a large colourful guard of honour took place.

'Her funeral summed up her personality one hundred percent. She had planned everyone out about the funeral and ordered all the stuff herself. She wanted it to be a celebration and didn't want to have this darkness or dreary look on things. The songs she picked were songs she always listened to and she loved her music,' said David Robinson.

David explained that Sarah had a passion for the Irish language, and loved traditional music having been involved in Comhaltas locally with Tuaisceart Loch Garman CCE.

'Anything she put her hand to, she was particular about and she did it right. She had a talent for arts and crafts, she also played GAA and soccer for years before she found her home in rugby,' he said.

It's true that Sarah left an impression on people everywhere she went.

'She was an exceptional young lady, and a very balanced student. Sarah, despite her illness came to school as often as she could, she wanted to be there and she was an inspiration to others, even just her presence that she came in and was able to do so. She had a strong academic ability, and was very skilled at sport, particularly rugby,' said her school principal Michael Finn.

Her primary school, Gaelscoil Moshíológ also shared an online tribute to Sarah as well as Gorey Rangers football club, where Sarah's younger brothers still attend.

Over the course of Sarah's illness, there were many fundraisers organised by friends, and nearly €20,000 was collected in an online campaign to support herself and her family throughout her illness.

During Daffodil Day this year, Sarah's illness was highlighted at her school and in May, Gorey Community School awarded Sarah with a 'Exceptional Courage' award.

Michael Finn explained that a lot of thought goes into each award given out.

'We felt that Sarah really deserved that award. When it was announced that she had won, her entire year group gave her a standing ovation and it was spontaneous and unrehearsed. It was really amazing but it just showed the strong loyal group of friends she had built up over a long period of time, and they really rallied around her during the last year. It says a lot about who she was,' said Michael Finn.

Declan Gibney, Chairperson of Gorey Rugby Club said that Sarah showed her determination as being second to none throughout her involvement with the club, particularly with the Give It A Try programme which aims to get young girls interested in Rugby.

'Sarah was very friendly, enthusiastic and generous in the giving of her time to others, despite her illness and its setbacks, she was determined to give to others in sport. Her favourite sport was rugby, and you could see the passion she had for it,' he said.

'For a girl of her age she had a fantastic rapport with girls younger than her. They would listen and look up to her, her own passion obviously translated to a passion in others, she had a strong ability to communicate her passion'.

Declan explained that as a coach, a parent, and a part of the community, he admired her focus and strength.

'Her illness wasn't going to hold her back, and she was determined to turn up to training, she wasn't going to take a back seat. Her team won the Leinster cup in April, and the girls on the team were absolutely determined to involve Sarah, but Sarah was as keen to be there as the girls were to have her there, so full credit to the team for that as they made it happen'.

'Sarah won't be forgotten, she wanted to celebrate life, the good in her life and the good she brought to ours and others,' said Declan.

Sarah Robinson is survived by her parents David and Majella, younger siblings Conor, Dáithí, Charlie, and Jack, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, relatives, friends and neighbours.

May she Rest In Peace.

Gorey Guardian