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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. philvisreturns on

    I’ve been trying to teach my wee fella to say “Celtic”, but he still thinks they’re called “Da Da”.

     

     

    He likes the Thai Tims videos. He was dancing along to one of them last night, until he fell asleep while standing up. (thumbsup)

  2. Philvis…,

     

    Getting him to stand up for the champions might just be better than talking about them.

     

    Hail Hail

  3. philvisreturns on

    canamalar – I can’t wait. :)

     

     

    He didn’t understand why his Da Da was giggling like a schoolgirl after the Aberdeen result, but he joined in with his crazy toddler laugh – which sounds like a cross between an excited dolphin and Sid James.

     

     

    He’s as ginger as a young Tommy Burns and as athletic as a chimpanzee. One for Ronny to keep an eye on, I think. (thumbsup)

  4. TBJ says Wee Oscar Knox is in heaven with the angels on

    Tears blinding me and my heart breaking while reading Paul’s article today .. God bless the wee fella and give his family strength today and always

  5. Philvis…,

     

    Nows the time to be kicking a ball before he finds out about which foot to kick with, before you know it you’ll have a two footed player on yer hands to drag you out yer bed early on Saturday mornings in all weathers for his match. While the missis rolls over with a smug grin telling you, you made yer bed

  6. Tricoloured Ribbon on

    Ernie,

     

    I can understand your reasons as regards abstention.

     

    However,a massive amount of people regard Stormont and the likes of abortion as major issues and are voting Sinn Fein slighty reluctantly.

     

    Their love for Republicanism will not change.

     

    Allegiance to the Queen draws the line however.

  7. An Oscar Legacy on CQN?

     

     

    Oscar Knox Golf Tournament.

     

     

    What about a wee award to someone every year in memory of Oscar and Kano?

     

     

    No bs involved at all BTW, just a way to let others who are struggling with life know that they are our heroes and how they inspire the rest of us who often seem to take so much for granted.

     

     

    It needn’t be a big, shiny trophy or anything like that but something to recognize the inspirational impact that adversity has bred into some of the gentlest people in the world.

     

     

    Shine on Wee mhan.

  8. blantyretim is praying for the Knox family on

    P67

     

    Sitting with a tear in my eye.

     

    Gone but forever in our hearts and minds

  9. philvisreturns on

    canamalar – I’m pretty sure he’s a left-footer. :-)

     

     

    You’re right – but at this point anything to get away from Spongebob Bloody Squarepants seems appealing! (thumbsup)

  10. mullet and co 2 on

    When you read a lead article like that it makes you feel inadequate and impotent. My heart goes out to Oscars Mum and Dad. I don’t think I could cope without my two kids. Funny, brave, graceful, resilient, indignant, kind. Their unconditional love knows no bounds.

  11. Philvis..,

     

    Been talking to Scouser over here who took his grandson to the park daily from the age of two, had him using the cones with both feet, the boy now doesn’t have a preferred foot and at the age of six is being made all sorts of offers from professional teams to join their youth training schemes. It’ll all go well till he finds a burd :)

  12. Tricoloured Ribbon on

    proudbhoy.

     

    How are ye ma Galliagh pal.?

     

     

    Desperately disappointed to see IRSP members, and you know who they are,voting to keep Sinn Fein out.

     

    Our day will come buddy.

     

    Incidentally ,a millionfold thanks to all Sinn Fein voters who keep our seats intact.

  13. Paul,

     

     

    well done on the article.

     

     

    It is taking the time out to remember our heroes that sets Celtic apart as “More that a Club” in the true sense of the phrase.

     

     

    Stephen and Leona only had had the champ for a few short years but the did an outstanding job of packing a BIG lifetime of activities into the wee mans life. Well done to both of you.

     

     

    It is also a privilege to be part of sharing it with you and CQN is a great vehicle to do so.

     

     

    Oscar might no longer be with us in person but he will always live on in the Celtic family.

     

     

    Seville67

  14. Tricoloured Ribbon on

    delaney’s dunky,

     

    Thanks for the birthday greetings my Bankie pal.

  15. As has happened many times before and probably will again the satirists got it right. There was a scene in Ballot Monkeys in which the party apparatchik strongly reminded her team that “Ed” should not be mentioned when they were canvassing. Come to think of it isn’t that funny after the election result reinstalled a Conservative govt and all that means for the economically disadvantaged in the country.

     

    HH

  16. !!Bada Bing!! on

    In tears reading that,wonderful things have helped make CQN.Well done P67,you should be very proud.HH

  17. blantyretim is praying for the Knox family on

    TR

     

    You share your birthday with our other DerryScot vmhan

     

    Have a great day

  18. glendalystonsils on

    Uplifting article Paul. Not much can move a grumpy auld bu**er like me, but that did.

  19. Craigellachie10 on

    Sitting at work, tears welling up reading those words Paul

     

     

    The memories you bring back are still so vivid.

  20. philvisreturns on

    Canamalar – It’ll all go well till he finds a burd :)

     

     

    Ha! That’s where it started going wrong for me, too.

     

     

    There will be no burds, booze, or treasure hunts for the wee man.

     

     

    Not until he makes enough for me to retire.

     

     

    I’ve already got him a little Celtic onesie. He’s like a rampaging mini green giant. (thumbsup)

  21. Paul67:

     

     

    A fitting tribute.

     

     

    Hat doffed to those that organised, those that stepped up to the plate when the rallying cry rang out.

     

     

    Remember Mouldy67 and others will take part in a 233 mile cycle to help Eieidh https://t.co./ymYtBGSCno #rideforeeileidh

     

     

    If you can please help.

     

     

    Lunch over.

     

     

    Until we meet again…

     

     

    Keep the Faith!

     

     

    Hail Hail!

  22. BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS on

    TBJ. 1327

     

     

    Lost your phone number.

     

     

    Lucky you. Otherwise you’d be getting texted about that post.

     

     

    Aye,pretty close.

  23. Tricoloured Ribbon on

    Bt,

     

    Didnae know it was Vinnie’s birthday.

     

    Magical stuff

     

    Thanks pal.

  24. Philvis…,

     

    It’s more likely he’ll give you grandkids to pay for too :)

  25. Oscar’s influence?

     

     

    Ronny Deila is April’s Manager of the Month

     

     

    “Deila, whose side won five league games and drew one during April as well as losing their semi-final to Inverness, insisted that the monthly awards were not a big deal for him personally.”

     

     

    “It’s an award to me, but for me it is the whole staff,” he said.

     

     

    “We work together every day and they complete me and we work very good together, so this is a reward for everybody.

     

     

    “And, of course, without the players I don’t think we get this reward, so this is a team sport and I take this as a recognition for good work as a group.

     

     

    “It was a good month, but since Christmas we have had a very good spell of games and results and some very good play.

     

     

    “April was not any different. It was the same as the month before.”

     

     

    Telling comment at the end Ronny.

     

     

    HH

  26. BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS on

    PHILVISRETURNS

     

     

    Always a delight to see you on the blog.

     

     

    When DONTBRATTBACKINANGER was referencing his butler last night,I immediately thought of you.

     

     

    And your henchman,Bunny!

     

     

    Take care of that flame-haired dynamo,bud. You’ve a lifetime of looking over your shoulder,same as every parent.

  27. weet weet weet(GBWO) on

    You see I’m a special child,

     

    I am needed up above.

     

    I’m the special gift you gave Him,

     

    A product of your love.

     

     

    GBWO

  28. BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS on

    WEETWEETWEET

     

     

    Thanks. Bed wi a tear in my eyes.

     

     

    Good words,right occasion.

  29. Superb and emotional article Paul67. Sometimes the pain in this world is too much. Just wish it was Sunday and I had a football game to look forward to.

     

    I do have a grand-daughters Communion tomorrow and I’ll give all my 7 grandkids a special hug, thinking about Wee Oscar.

  30. Tricoloured Ribbon on

    proudbhoy.,

     

     

    Do you know there was a concerted attempt to kill or attempt to kill or intimidate Sinn Fein members this week?

     

    Death threats,bomb threats,cars burned out and Martin’s house attacked?

     

    Was that on the main news I wonder?

     

    Naw,the main story was about a guy shouting to Cameron in a garden centre.

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