After a long, brave fight, wee Oscar Knox moved to Children's Hospice
THE parents of little Oscar Knox have moved him into the care of the Children's Hospice after admitting the cancer he has been battling bravely for more than two years is starting to win.
His mother Leona revealed he was now suffering agonising pain and had been "going through hell" for the last month.
The five-year-old's suffering is so great that he told his parents: "I don't want to be a boy anymore."
In the latest update to an online diary documenting Oscar's fight, Leona writes: "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."
She said that she and her husband Stephen had been "pushed to the limit of what any parent could tolerate in terms of watching their child suffer".
Little Oscar has touched the hearts of people with his brave fight since being diagnosed with high-risk neuroblastoma – a rare and aggressive childhood cancer – in November 2011.
His parents went public in a bid to raise awareness and funds for Oscar's care.
A huge support campaign was launched, backed by celebrities and sports stars including Belfast Olympic medal-winning boxers Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlan.
Since early 2012 Stephen and Leona have kept an online diary of Oscar's fight. In the latest update, posted on Wednesday night, Leona wrote that after five months of relative stability, Oscar's condition had deteriorated.
"Since March 17 Oscar has been going through hell, and so have we," she wrote in the emotional piece. Leona added: "The heartbreaking truth is that now, after two-and-a-half long years of trying, (the cancer) is finally beginning to win.
"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."
She said that Oscar had told them: "I don't want to be a boy anymore", and "I don't want to be me".
Leona said the family had decided to move into the Children's Hospice to enable Oscar to be cared for.
"We still do not know what lies ahead, or how far ahead these questions might be answered," she added. "We simply have to wait to see what move his neuroblastoma makes next."
Leona thanked staff at the Hospice who, she said, had been amazing.
Yesterday the Knox family was inundated with messages of support after the latest update on his condition.
Boxing hero Carl Frampton wrote on Twitter: "Can't start to imagine what you're going through.
"Strong boy and strong family."
The Children's Hospice is the only service of its type within Northern Ireland caring for children and young people with very complex needs.
It provides high quality care and support to children and young people with life-limiting conditions and also their parents and carers. For further information on its work and fundraising, log on to www.nihospice care.com/childrens_ hospice"