Sebastian McLoughlin: Little boy who adored Christmas loses his battle with cancer
A BRAVE little boy whose family recreated Christmas in May has died after a battle with cancer.
Four-year-old Sebastian McLoughlin was diagnosed with a brain tumour earlier this year and given only weeks to live.
His parents hoped to enjoy one final Christmas together as a family at home in Ballina, Co Tipperary.
Sebastian's story moved thousands of listeners after his father spoke to RTE's Ray D'Arcy last month, and many made donations to make his Christmas happen.
Yesterday, Ray told his audience that Sebastian had passed away and thanked them for their help in creating the magical day for him and his family.
"It's with a heavy heart and a horrible sadness that I have to tell you that poor little Sebastian passed away earlier today," he said.
"We'd like to pass on our sincere condolences to his family. May he rest in peace."
Sebastian's dad broke down on air when he appealed for listeners' help in securing a sleigh, deer and Santa's grotto as well as anyone willing to dress up as Minions from the animated film Despicable Me.
"Sebastian really loves Christmas - like any child, it's his favourite time of the year. He looks forward to it from one end of the year to the other," he said before the treat was arranged.
Sebastian's uncle Dan said the family had been "overwhelmed" by the outpouring of support and national generosity that resulted from the highlighting of Sebastian's case on radio.
"The response from everybody in the country has been amazing. We can't thank everybody enough," he said.
The family received a wide variety of offers of support including bouncy castles and cakes.
One boy offered his communion money, while nearly €15,000 was raised overnight on an online charity page.
"We never wanted money or to raise money, we only wanted reindeer, that kind of thing," Dan said.
Sebastian became ill last January with eye trouble, headaches and vomiting. An optician referred them to hospital where doctors found a golf ball-sized tumour at the back of his head.
Medics managed to remove the tumour during surgery at Temple Street Children's Hospital and Sebastian underwent chemotherapy.
He became ill again and his parents were told the heartbreaking news that he had only a short time left.
He lost his struggle with cancer yesterday.