Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Little fighter Oscar Knox has captured our hearts with his smile and his indomitable spirit

Personal trainer Danielle Johnston who received death threats  over her Facebook post
Personal trainer Danielle Johnston who received death threats over her Facebook post
Lanterns were released across Belfast to remember Oscar Knox. Pic Twitter
Lanterns were released across Belfast to remember Oscar Knox. Pic Twitter
The service for little Oscar Knox was held in St Bernard's Church, Glengormley. The procession started from the NI Children's Hospice and onwards to St Bernard's Church. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Lanterns were released across Belfast to remember Oscar Knox. Pic Twitter
Monday 1st July 2013 - Oscar Knox took over the offices of First Minister Peter Robinson and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness at Parliament Buildings
The service for little Oscar Knox was held in St Bernard's Church, Glengormley. The procession started from the NI Children's Hospice and onwards to St Bernard's Church. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Derry City fans pay tribute to Oscar Knox during the team's match against Shamrock Rovers, Friday May 9, 2014
The service for little Oscar Knox was held in St Bernard's Church, Glengormley. The procession started from the NI Children's Hospice and onwards to St Bernard's Church. Pic Declan Roughan/Presseye
The service for little Oscar Knox was held in St Bernard's Church, Glengormley. The procession started from the NI Children's Hospice and onwards to St Bernard's Church. Pic Declan Roughan/Presseye
The service for little Oscar Knox was held in St Bernard's Church, Glengormley. The procession started from the NI Children's Hospice and onwards to St Bernard's Church. Pic Declan Roughan/Presseye
The service for little Oscar Knox was held in St Bernard's Church, Glengormley. The procession started from the NI Children's Hospice and onwards to St Bernard's Church. Pic Declan Roughan/Presseye
The service for little Oscar Knox was held in St Bernard's Church, Glengormley. The procession started from the NI Children's Hospice and onwards to St Bernard's Church. Pic Declan Roughan/Presseye
The service for little Oscar Knox was held in St Bernard's Church, Glengormley. The procession started from the NI Children's Hospice and onwards to St Bernard's Church. Pic Declan Roughan/Presseye
The service for little Oscar Knox was held in St Bernard's Church, Glengormley. The procession started from the NI Children's Hospice and onwards to St Bernard's Church. Pic Declan Roughan/Presseye
Oscar Knox pictured with mum Leona and sister Izzie
The service for little Oscar Knox was held in St Bernard's Church, Glengormley. The procession started from the NI Children's Hospice and onwards to St Bernard's Church. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Sunday Life Spirit Of Northern Ireland overall winner Oscar Knox with Olympic Boxer Paddy Barnes at the awards dinner in the Culloden Hotel Holywood Friday 14th June 2013
Celtic v Cliftonville, Champions League second qualifying round second leg - 23 July 2013. Oscar Knox with Celtic skipper Scott Brown ahead of the Celtic v Cliftonville match
The service for little Oscar Knox was held in St Bernard's Church, Glengormley. The procession started from the NI Children's Hospice and onwards to St Bernard's Church. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Oscar pictured in 2012 with the flag that made him an overnight internet sensation as he was allowed to stay up late to watch that year's European Championship matches
Oscar Knox being held by his mother Leona in hospital. This photo was posted by Oscar's family on October 13, 2012
Former Celtic player John Hartson and Oscar Knox
March 25, 2013 Little Oscar Know steals the show during a 'FEARLESS' press conference at Belfast City Hall. The event has been put together for the night which will feature Irish title fights with all profits going directly to The Oscar Knox Appeal. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
May 1, 2013 - Oscar Knox pictured at New Forge country club with Ulster Rugby's Paddy McAllister
Sunday Life Spirit Of Northern Ireland over-all winner Oscar Knox at the awards dinner in the Culloden Hotel Holywood, Friday 14th June 2013
Oscar Knox's family posted this photo on Twitter last month, saying: "I got back on my feet and walked 20 metres today, everyone was SO proud of me!"
Oscar Knox and his sister, Izzie, surrounded by Easter eggs.
Oscar Knox, celebrating his fourth birthday
Oscar Knox with his father Stephen at Celtic's Parkhead last year
Leona Knox watches as Oscar opens his presents at Christmas 2012
Close family: Oscar with mum Leona, dad Stephen and sister Izzie
Oscar Knox with Celtic skipper Scott Brown during Tuesday evenings Celtic v Cliftonville Champions League, 2nd qualifying round, 2nd leg match at Parkhead, Glasgow Scotland
Oscar blowing the candle out on his birthday cake with dad Stephen
Oscar Knox
Oscar Knox enjoying a day out in the park
Oscar Knox in hospital from Twitter in October, 2012
Little fighter: Oscar Knox
Oscar Knox arrives home from America via air ambulance
Olympic bronze medalists Paddy Barnes (left) and Michael Conlan at the gala ball in aid of Oscar Knox
Oscar Knox
Oscar Knox in Philadelphia
Mum Leona and Oscar
Michael Deane with Oscar Knox
Oscar Knox
Sinn Fein Cllr Tierna Cunningham and Belfast Lord Mayor DUP Gavin Robinson with Oscar
Oscar Knox
Sunday Life Spirit of Northern Ireland Awards. Overall Spirit of NI Winner Wee Oscar Knox Presented by, Martin Breen, Tony McGinn and Britain's Got Talent Finalist Jordan O'Keefe
Sunday Life Spirit of Northern Ireland Awards. Overall Spirit of NI Winner Wee Oscar Knox Presented by, Martin Breen, Tony McGinn and Britain's Got Talent Finalist Jordan O'Keefe
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - Saturday 14th June 2013 - Sunday Life Spirit of Northern Ireland Awards. Overall Spirit of NI Winner Wee Oscar Knox with his mum Leona
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - Saturday 14th June 2013 - Sunday Life Spirit of Northern Ireland Awards. Julian Simmons, Paddy Barnes & Wee Oscar Knox
Oscar Knox
Sunday Life Spirit of Northern Ireland Awards. Overall winner Wee Oscar Knox presented by Martin Breen and Britain's Got Talent Finalist Jordan O'Keefe

IT is heart-wrenching to hear of little Oscar Knox's pain and anguish on his parents' on-line blog. Leona and Stephen have had to watch their precious five-year-old "go through hell" in the last few weeks as a result of the rare and aggressive neurological cancer he was diagnosed with in November 2011.

The couple have had to witness their adorable child screaming in constant agony while morphine, sedatives and anti-anxiety medications are administered 24 hours a day.

In quieter moments, they note, he has whispered to his mum and dad that he doesn't "want to be a boy anymore", and "I don't want to be me".

It makes difficult reading, and it doesn't sound like the sparky little fighter who has captured hearts around the world.

But there are still signs of his admirable spirit in the diary. Oscar hasn't given up his battle and is still surprising his doctors.

Recognising that his awful neuroblastoma disease has progressed radically, the Knoxs and their youngest child Izzie are now watching over Oscar as he battles on in the Children's Hospice, on a high dose of diamorphine that would knock an adult patient for six – but not this courageous child.

With his famous sunny resolve, this cherubic little boy is conscious and functioning – "that is our wee Oscar all over," as his parents write.

They had told his consultant a couple of weeks ago that they didn't think Oscar would succumb to the diamorphine and he agreed: "Your son doesn't do giving up."

After Oscar's first long and tough battle with his childhood cancer, he was given the all-clear in April 2013. Sadly, the disease returned last August.

Since then he had five months of fun-filled relative stability, a light-filled time in which he has been star of the show at the wonderful fundraising events at the Royal and the NI Children's Hospice. He has eclipsed all others with his winning smile and radiant spirit, with his cute little face and happy-go-lucky demeanour.

Further Reading

After a long, brave fight, wee Oscar Knox moved to Children's Hospice  

Little fighter Oscar Knox has captured our hearts with his smile and his indomitable spirit

Oscar Knox: 'We held it at bay for ages... now this cruel, ugly disease is starting to win 

 Oscar Knox family's heartrending ordeal has moved us all 

Even Summer, the miniature therapy horse, has a soft spot for the little boy. As his owner Samantha Hayes remarked: "Summer makes a bee-line for Oscar on his visits to the Royal Victoria Hospital and the Hospice on therapy days and they have an amazing connection.

"Oscar is a ballsy wee lad and that's what has got him as far as he's come."

Unfortunately, neuroblastoma is a cruel disease which goes back on the attack just when its devastating effects seem to have abated.

The year before its ravaging effects surfaced in the then toddler's body, he learned to walk and welcomed his newborn sister home.

Endearing photographs online show him taking some of his first steps at a family wedding, and cuddling the infant Izzie.

In the dozens of pictures which have appeared of Oscar since in the media, he invariably has a big, bright smile on his lovely little face.

It's this beaming grin – and the positive spirit behind it – that has branded itself onto our collective consciousness. And it's one many of us will never forget.

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