Bravery of wee Oscar an inspiration to us all
The death of Oscar Knox, the little Mallusk boy who put up such a strong fight against cancer, has touched the hearts of many people.
After a battle lasting two-and-a-half years, his death on Thursday was announced by his grieving family, who had done so much to help him combat his devastating illness.
He suffered from an aggressive form of cancer called neuroblastoma, and this required specialist and very expensive treatment.
Nevertheless, Oscar and his family met every challenge after he was first diagnosed with the illness in November 2011.
Almost a year later he went for that specialist care in America, helped by the dedication of his family, his friends and many well-wishers who raised the massive sum of £250,000 to pay for immunotherapy treatment. Following this there was good news, and wee Oscar was given the all-clear in the spring of last year.
But, sadly, the cancer returned in August of 2013, and his battle ended this week.
During this long period Oscar was an inspiration to many people, and not only those who suffered from serious illness, but also their parents and many others.
His brave battle attracted the attention of the media and also the support of Irish soccer fans and Celtic Football Club.
His story became a social media phenomenon, and his parents established a Twitter account in order to keep everyone informed of what was happening.
Tragically, however, this massive support was not enough to help Oscar to stay alive.
His death this week will be mourned by the many thousands of people who were moved by his story and who tried to help him in his brave battle.
Most of all, our thoughts are with his parents Stephen and Leona and his little sister Izzie, and with their wider family and friends who will mourn his loss most of all.
Little Oscar has sadly left us, but he moved so many of us in his short life. In doing so, he brought out the best in people and showed that nothing is more precious than the life of a vulnerable and inspiring child.