Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

Oscar Knox: Whole world moved by the boy who didn't do giving up

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 a story of one family's suffering and a little boy's incredible fight against the odds – and it moved the world.

The simple, eloquent words of Oscar Knox's parents, captured in a series of powerful diary entries, took us all on a journey of hope, courage and ultimately despair.

In time the world came to know wee Oscar and his battle against a cruel disease.

So, too, Leona and Stephen, his loving mother and father who have endured every parent's worst nightmare.

Through the heartache and trauma of their son's battle for life, their bond remained strong.

The couple met after being introduced by mutual friends on St Patrick's night in 2001.

They married five years later in December 2006 and settled in east Belfast.

Just over a year later Leona became pregnant.

When Oscar was born on September 10, 2008 the young couple's life seemed complete – but their dreams were soon shattered.

Leona and Stephen became concerned about Oscar's development. He was later diagnosed with Jacobsen syndrome, an extremely rare chromosome disorder said to affect just one in every 100,000 people.

Oscar made astonishing progress and eventually was on par with other children his age.

He started playgroup in September 2011 – two days after his third birthday.

However, over the next two months Oscar was in and out of hospital.

Something was wrong – but the devastating news that followed must still have come as a bombshell to Stephen and Leona.

Oscar was diagnosed with high-risk neuroblastoma, a rare children's cancer which affects one in every 100,000 children.

Oscar beat the odds to pull through and, at one stage, appeared to have beaten the cancer, which threatened to cut his life short.

But in a cruel twist, the little boy became ill for a second time last August.

Sadly, this time – and despite a heroic fight – it was a battle too far.

Last month Stephen and Leona made the heartbreaking decision to move Oscar into the care of the Children's Hospice.

Leona revealed he was suffering agonising pain and had been "going through hell".

His suffering was so great that he told his parents: "I don't want to be a boy any more."

In what would be the final update to the online diary documenting Oscar's fight, Leona wrote: "In the past four weeks Oscar has suffered more pain than we could have imagined, and more anguish than any five-year-old should ever know."

Even in his final weeks, as Oscar fought for life, he refused to give in. His parents were told by one doctor: "Your son doesn't do giving up."

The fighting spirit which Oscar has shown is a lesson to everyone. And so, too, the courage and strength of his remarkable parents.

--

Donations to raise money for the Northern Ireland Children's Hospice in memory of Oscar can be made via a dedicated JustGiving page at justgiving.com/oscarknox.

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