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Oscar Knox

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Some of the incredible people from the WeeOscar4Life campaign spoke to Stephen and Leona Knox and asked if it would be appropriate to submit an article to CQN for today, the first anniversary of Oscar’s passing.

What started in the Celtic community went worldwide and had a profound effect on Oscar, his family and the wider community.  We lost Oscar, but there is a legacy which continues to help children similarly afflicted.  It’s right that you should read the effect of what you did for Oscar, and what continues to be done in his name.

This is the article:

To Stephen and Leona he was their son, to Izzie he was her brother to the rest of the world he was known and revered as ‘Wee Oscar’ however Oscar Knox was also known ‘Bravest boy in the World’, ‘an inspiration to a Nation’ and ‘the boy who united Northern Ireland’.

Oscar’s story first came to light on the Celtic Quick News blog where Stephen (Knoxy2000) posted about Oscar’s fight against cancer.  A number of CQNer’s decided they wanted to help and this is where WeeOscar4Life started. The WeeOscar4Life campaign team organised various fundraising events and activities for the Oscar Knox Appeal.  Collections that raised in excess of £2,800; CQN badges raised over £3,600; however there has been one event so far that completely surpassed all expectations and really proved beyond doubt that the Celtic supporters are amongst the most generous in the World.

On Saturday 22nd September 2012 at Celtic’s game against Dundee at Celtic Park, over 200 volunteers collected money on behalf of the WeeOscar4Life campaign as part of the Oscar Knox Appeal.  Wee Oscar’s Green Bucket Army raised an astonishing £32,000 in just two. When you include a very successful race night at Celtic Park and a sponsored cycle to Belfast; the WeeOscar4Life campaign raised well in excess of £100,000 for the Oscar Knox Appeal.

Stephen and Leona had made the decision that a proactive social media campaign would be their best chance of raising the much needed money to enable Oscar to be sent to America or Germany for the specialist treatment that would give him the best chance of beating the neuroblastoma cancer. The Oscar Knox Appeal raised the £250,000 target in just 3 months and has raised over £700,000 now in total. The profile of their campaign and appeal ensured that Oscar’s story became news the world over.

The WeeOscar4Life campaign also relied heavily on social media to raise awareness of our events. Our campaign team was just a few therefore the support and help of the wider online community was essential. Every one of the WeeOscar4Life campaign team would like to personally thank and show our appreciation to everyone who shared our calls for help.  Most of all, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you to each and every person who made donations.

Something that you should be aware (and extremely proud) of is that when you raised £32,000 at the Green Bucket Army collection, your money was the catalyst and final piece of the jigsaw that made it possible for Oscar to fly to America for the specialist treatment he so desperately needed.

As it turned out the trip to America did not go to plan and very quickly Oscar’s health deteriorated to the point that the Doctors didn’t believe Oscar would survive the night.  God knows how Stephen and Leona coped being stuck many thousands of miles from home with a bunch of strangers and having to watch their son slip away in front of their eyes. However Oscar showed that fighting Irish spirit and that Fearless determination and somehow pulled through. Unfortunately due to the medical complications that Oscar had developed he was unable to receive the specialist treatment he so desperately needed and had to return home where it was unclear what the next steps in Oscars treatment were and all that remained was a massive £250k medical bill and a wee boy that now had even more medical complications and battles ahead.

But as we all know Oscar had already proven what a fighter he was and amazingly his health did improve and even more amazingly during the early months of summer 2013 Stephen and Leona had announced that to the surprise of everyone that tests had shown that Oscar was cancer free.

Normal Life would mean that Oscar would be able to go back to playgroup again and the thoughts turned to planning Oscar’s step up to the big school in September. In May 2013 Oscar had the chance to spend time in his new school, meet his teachers and classmates, and even get fitted for his new uniform. This trip to school meant the world to Oscar and his extremely proud family.

The summer of 2013 and normal life involved a short holiday at Centerparks which the family absolutely loved, and then a short break in Scotland, where they were able to visit family and friends. There was also the Champions League qualifier against Cliftonville at Celtic Park where Oscar was the Celtic mascot.

Watching Oscar come out onto the pitch hand in hand with Captain Scott Brown was a moment that the thousands who attended will never forget. The moment that Oscar ran to hug Hoopy will be the lasting memory for hundreds of thousands if not millions of people across the world. Although I think that Stephen enjoyed his time just as much as Oscar and taking penalties into the Celtic end goal after the game gave him a smile almost as big as Oscar’s.

Sadly shortly after returning home from their time in Scotland Stephen and Leona knew that something was not quite right with Oscar’s health so back to hospital and their specialist they had to go. Their Doctor informed them that the cancer had returned; this was going to prove to be Oscar’s biggest battle of all.

Despite the earlier disappointment of having to postpone Oscar’s primary 1 start in September 2013, due to his chemotherapy and hospital treatment, he finally got his biggest wish when he was able to start school on the 7th January 2014. Leona says “If it was possible, Stephen and I wore even prouder smiles than this as we drove him to school on that first morning.”

In March 2014 Leona and Stephens worst fears were realised when scans revealed that the neuroblastoma had overrun Oscar’s wee body – devastating news.  But this wonderfully dedicated and kind couple never gave up hope for Oscar’s sake and it’s obvious that Stephen and Leona’s ability to maintain a positive environment around Oscar contributed immensely to Oscar wonderful positivity.

On Thursday 8th May 2014 Oscar sadly lost his two and a half year battle with Cancer and passed away at the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice in his Mum and Dad’s arms. The news broke with a message from the family saying “Our beautiful amazing and much loved Son Oscar James Knox gained his angel wings yesterday afternoon. Sleep tight little man xx #TeamOscarForever”. It seemed like the whole world was grieving with Stephen, Leona, Izzie and their entire family with literally thousands upon thousands of Facebook and Twitter messages being sent to the official Wee Oscar accounts.

The hundreds of ordinary people who came to honour and show their love and pay their respects to Oscar were joined by prominent politicians and sports personalities including, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, Belfast boxers Carl Frampton and Paddy Barnes and award-winning restaurateur Michael Deane amongst others.

Hundreds of people lined the streets, some gave polite applause when Oscar passed, Police Officers saluted, people took off their hats and bowed and some held homemade banners. One of these banners read “You’ll Never Walk Alone RIP Oscar #TeamOscar Brave to the very end”. Little children many wearing football kits and tops of many teams including Celtic, Cliftonville and Rangers were seen; but football was irrelevant and rivalries were forgotten as everyone came to show their love for Oscar and their solidarity with Stephen, Leona and Izzie.

The funeral mass was a wonderful celebration of Oscar’s short life and proved to be a very fitting send off. Near the end of the service both Stephen and Leona said a few words and they both spoke with a dignity, compassion and bravery that is hard to comprehend. They are truly amazing people and wonderful parents. While people applauded Stephen and Leona’s courage and heartfelt words I suspect the congregated masses were also saying to them ‘thank you for letting us be part of your beautiful family’s and especially Oscar’s life’.

On the same day as Oscar’s funeral Celtic played Dundee Utd in the final game of the SPFL Premiership season; the day that Celtic would be presented with the League trophy; a day that would have been emotionally charged at the best of times however on this day it was even more emotional. The Celtic players all wore black armbands, before the game started a tribute was displayed on the big screens as they played “You’ll never walk alone” over the PA system. RIP Oscar Banners were displayed throughout the stadium showing their love and support for Oscar. One of the most poignant and appropriate was displayed by the Green Brigade that said “Heart of a Lion – Courage of a Champion – RIP Oscar”. On the 5th minute (Oscar’s age) the entire stadium got to their feet to applaud; including the Celtic management team and substitutes in the dugout in what was a genuine show of respect, love and acknowledgement of what a personality and amazing bhoy that Oscar was.  After the applause turned to another chorus of “You’ll never walk alone”.

The final celebration of Oscars life was a service at Roselawn Crematorium the following day in South Belfast which was predominantly attended by family and close friends; however just like his funeral mass there were a few notable and instantly recognisable public figures there including Celtic’s Kris Commons and his partner Lisa Hague who have both been wonderful supporters of the Oscar Knox Appeal as well as Jordan O’Keefe the Britain’s Got talent finalist who wore his #TeamOscar wristband with pride throughout every round of the live TV shows which helped to raise massive awareness for Oscars plight.

Quite a few people have repeated Stephens words that “Oscar achieved more in his 5 and a half short years that most of us ever will in a lifetime” and how true these words are; some of this “big man for a wee mans” achievements include raising global awareness of neuroblastoma, increasing blood donations across the UK and Ireland, bringing diametrically opposed politicians together and being the catalyst for the first ever professional boxing event to be hosted in Belfast City Hall. He inspired people from many Countries across the world to go out and fundraise (which they did to the tune of just over £700,000 for the Oscar Knox Appeal) and even in death Oscar continues to inspire people to donate to worthwhile causes with over £36,000 raised within days for the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice and Children’s Haematology Unit in his memory.

These are just some of the things that Oscar achieved, however without doubt Oscar’s greatest legacy is that he made us better people! You could not help but be inspired to be happier and smile a bit more than we normally would, to be more courageous and determined (given what Oscar was going through everything else paled into insignificance) and if nothing else just to be a better person I mean how could you not be inspired to be a better person?

WeeOscar4Life was set-up to help Oscar and his amazing family get through the tough time of raising money to help Oscar get the much needed treatment that in the end he was sadly unable to get despite the truly heroic efforts of Stephen and Leona. Oscar will forever be in the hearts and minds of many people around the World and we are certain that memorials in many shapes and forms will be created for Oscar. The WeeOscar4Life team are delighted to say that with the support of many CQNer’s we have been able to create our own lasting memorial for Oscar with the installation of a Paving Stone at Celtic Park. However the true purpose of WeeOscar4Life means ‘for life’ and our thoughts, prayers and best wishes are with our friends for life, Stephen, Leona and Izzie. Be assured that we will be here to walk with you on the next steps of your journey as friends.

It has been an honour and a privilege to have known Oscar and we are proud that you, Stephen and Leona, let us become a small part of your journey with Oscar and that we were able to share some of the highs and lows with you and your beautiful family.

Rest in Peace Champ, your smile and thumbs up will forever be treasured. Your bravery and inspirational fighting spirit an eternal legacy :’-)

To donate to the Oscar Knox Appeal use the following: http://www.justgiving.com/OscarAppeal

To donate to the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice use the following:

http://www.justgiving.com/remember/123577/Oscar-Knox

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  1. Tricolour Ribbon.

     

     

    re Pat Doherty,

     

    I stand corrected mate i am thinking of his cousin Pat who used to do the Glasgow-Donegal

     

    bus route in early 70s form Carrigart and of good republican stock also :-)

     

    hope yir well and Happy birthday,get yourself down to the Dun gloe bar for a pint :-)

     

     

    HH

  2. Dontbrattbakkinanger on

    I think Ian Murray’s role in saving Hearts probably played a huge part in him keeping his seat.

  3. Oscar Knox

     

     

    what a wonderful impact you made on us all

     

     

    rest in peace wee mhan

     

     

    HH

  4. Rip wee oscar

     

     

    Brave wee man

     

     

    Thoughts with the strong knox family on another tough day for them.

  5. BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS on

    DONTBRATTBACKINANGER

     

     

    Seconded,mate. Outstanding.

     

     

    And with luck should draw the sting from other events today.

     

     

    The election was yesterday.

     

     

    We can do nothing about Oscar’s death. But we can keep giving.

     

     

    On behalf of our good friend Mouldy67, if you can please help: In memory of @wee_oscar we will take part in 233 mile cycle to help Eileidh https://t.co/ymYtBGSCno #rideforeileidh plse RT

  6. What is the Stars on

    Oh Ernie

     

     

    You are awful

     

     

    The true sons of the patriotic flame (who now help administer the occupied territories) wont like you for that

     

    Don’t you know everyone should get out of their way

     

    That’s Democracy apparently

  7. Tricolour

     

     

    Happy Birthday

     

     

    and yes an absolute scumbag. Letting a natural nationalist seat go to a single unionist candidiate is unforgiveable.

     

     

    Mark Durkan is a low life, not fit to walk in the shadow of John Hume.

     

     

    Roll on the elections in the Free State

  8. Ernie

     

     

    Again I can’t help but wonder whether it’s reasonable to expect a party not to contest an election to allow someone on an abstentionist ticket a free run.

     

     

    ——-

     

     

    A bit like you’re criticising snp voters for not doing in scotland?

     

     

    I find your contrasting attitude to irish and scottish self determination to be interesting.

     

     

    HH jamesgang

  9. ernie lynch

     

     

    12:42 on

     

     

    8 May, 2015

     

    ===

     

    Again I can’t help but wonder whether it’s reasonable to expect a party not to contest an election to allow someone on an abstentionist ticket a free run.

     

    ===

     

    Given the struggle of the Nationalist people in the 6 counties the idea of an alleged ‘Nationalist’ party with absolutely no chance of winning the seat contest it in the clear knowledge that in doing so it will in all probability allow an Ulster Unionist (and all that entails) to take the seat is beyond comprehension.

  10. BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS on

    ERNIE LYNCH

     

     

    Sinn Fein were the bigger party.

     

     

    SDLP seemed not to bother too much about a split,but unionist parties ensured they avoided it.

     

     

    It cost SDLP a lost deposit. It may have cost them a whole lot more…

  11. embramike says "the Huns are Deid" on

    Excellent leader again Paul, and once again Wee Oscar’s memory manages to put life into context.

     

     

    Political apologists take note …

  12. TCR

     

     

    Was the dissies really outside polling stations giving abuse last night ?

     

     

    As much as i dont agree with the path SF are taken the attacks on them and their families these past few weeks have been awful.. alot of hard working good people in their ranks who do alot for the community.

     

     

    Sometimes i wonder why i cant wait to move home.

     

     

    No fan of durkan but i dont think sf winning would have changed anything.. the city will still be left rotting with the only jobs going are low paid jobs and anything decent straight to belfast.

     

     

    All our politicans have let us down year after year. Not surprised to see the turn out was only 53per cent

  13. jamesgang

     

     

    12:49 on 8 May, 2015

     

     

    You’ll have to explain to me how SF’s policy of abstentionism furthers the cause of reunification.

  14. ernie lynch

     

     

     

     

    12:46 on

     

     

    8 May, 2015

     

     

     

     

    oglach

     

     

    12:21 on 8 May, 2015

     

     

    Sorry for butting in again, and you’ll pardon my ignorance of the background, but did SF consider not running a candidate to allow the SDLP a free run at defeating the Unionist?

     

    ==

     

    You are just being polemic. If the SDLP had any credible support in the 6 counties I guess SF may have stood aside. The SDLP polled just over 2000 votes. The fact is their standing lost a nationalist seat.

  15. BOBBY MURDOCH’S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS

     

     

    12:52 on 8 May, 2015

     

     

    ERNIE LYNCH

     

     

    Sinn Fein were the bigger party.

     

     

    ###

     

     

    I assumed that would be the case.

     

     

    But once it was apparent the SDLP weren’t going to stand down, and given their abstentionist policy, couldn’t SF have stood aside?

     

     

    I mean, what’s the objective here, defeat the Unionist, or elect an SF representative who was never going to take their seat?

  16. Geordie Munro on

    Tear in my eye and lump in my throat.

     

     

    Very poignant piece Paul.

     

     

    Hail Hail.

  17. Would the SDLP have stood aside if SF didn’t have an abstentionist policy?

  18. 67Heaven .. CHALLENGING THE LIE ..I am wee Oscar...... Ipox belongs to the creditors on

    The angels have benefited from Wee Oscar’s presence in Heaven

  19. philvisreturns on

    We don’t get to keep our children. We just get to hold their hands for a little while.

     

     

    But we hold them in our hearts forever.

     

     

    We’ll never forget Oscar. (thumbsup)

  20. BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS on

    PROUDBHOY

     

     

    I was about to reply to you though pretty much in agreement and I thought…

     

     

    Naw.

     

     

    I’m fed up wi politics. Admittedly my side got a kicking,so I would say that.

     

     

    I love your posts from over the water,in a land where my sister fears being dragged to if her husband ever wins the lottery(I thought he did that when I turned my back,but there you go.)

     

     

    I’m off politics for a while,but especially today. It’s a hard anniversary for anyone,and it shouldn’t be overshadowed.

     

     

    This was posted earlier this week. Some apt lines in it.

     

     

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=7hqgC3W9GUI

  21. Panda Hands on

    Lovely article on Wee Oscar, had a lump in my throat reading that.

     

     

    May God bless the wee man, his brave parents and wee sister.

     

     

    Hail Hail

  22. embramike says "the Huns are Deid" on

    Ernie Lynch

     

     

    You do realise this is a football blog and the lead article is about the memory of Wee Oscar Knox and his connection to the club and CQN bloggers ?

     

     

    Give it a rest eh !!

  23. BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS on

    ERNIE.

     

     

    I said I would do no more political posts. This is in reply to yours before that.

     

     

    Tail wagging the dog.

  24. Tricoloured Ribbon on

    Ernie mo chara,

     

    The abstension issue really was minimal.

     

    The SDLP are the biggest stumbling block to advancement in six county politics.

     

    In saying that,young armchair Republicans were a disgrace last night too.

     

    Our tallies and registers show a lot of them did not vote.Lazy,useless people who will be clad in the hoops in the pub on Sunday.

  25. bobby murdoch’s curled-up winklepickers

     

     

    13:02 on 8 May, 2015

     

     

     

     

    If i won lottery id be in first plane outta here buddy.

     

     

    Enjoy your weekend

  26. ernie lynch on

    Tricoloured Ribbon

     

     

    13:05 on 8 May, 2015

     

     

    I just wonder whether abstentionism is now hindering rather than furthering the cause.

     

     

    I’m aware of and appreciate the reasons for the policy but I can’t help thinking it’s maybe had its day.

  27. Margaret McGill on

    Scotland will always have a Tory govt now.

     

    As much as it pains I think independence is the only solution

  28. Embramike….,

     

    Your attempt to censure debate is no very good, especially with emotional blackmail a real nasty shot there, if you don’t agree with his politics say so but don’t use such underhanded tactics

  29. jude2005 is Neil Lennon \o/ on

    My everlasting memory of Oscar will be him throwing snowballs at Paddy Barnes window.

     

     

     

    YNWA Oscar.

  30. Margaret McGill

     

    13:10 on

     

    8 May, 2015

     

     

    Scotland will always have a Tory govt now.

     

    As much as it pains I think independence is the only solution

     

    ————————————————————————————–

     

    Federalised UK?

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