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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. lubo of the lamp on

    Tricoloured Ribbon – 15:11

     

     

    “So, is it Cameron on the brink again…”

     

     

    Sun south of the border very happy

     

     

     

    “and a massive SNP vote means feck all,”

     

     

    Sun north of the border very happy – and Rupert Murdoch one very happy chappy indeedy.

  2. Mountblow tim on

    Good afternoon CQN

     

     

    God bless wee Oscar may he rest in peace

     

    Thoughts and prayers for the Knox family god bless

     

     

    Hail Hail

     

     

    MT

  3. johann murdoch on

    Muir-Murray-Dallas-Mclean all “rewarded” with SPL games since hampden semi.

  4. Mountblow tim on

    Tricoloured Ribbon

     

     

    Big Hoopy birthday to you have a great day

     

     

    From a fellow Bankie

     

     

     

    Hail Hail

     

     

    MT

  5. Jungle Jim Hot Smoked on

    Which FIRST team players do we consider good enough to give us a chance of Qualifying for the CL Group Stages?

     

    I`ll start with :

     

    Gordon

     

    Lustig. ????? van Djik. Izzaguirre.

     

    Forrest Brown Bitton Johansen Armstrong

     

    Griffiths (?)

     

    Bench: Commons, Henderson, GMS and , possibly , a more confident Scepovic.

     

    And, of course, we must add the potential Ronny Factor.

     

    So , looking at the above, I feel all we really need is a replacement for Denayer ( and Mulgrew is definitely a contender for that position) .

     

    Should anyone offer an opinion on the above, I would ask that you say who you would drop and how much the improved replacement would cost,

     

    JJ

  6. So the Tories have a 12 seat majority, make that at least 16 as Sinn Fein don’t turn up so he doesn’t even need the DUP’s votes to drive through five more years of austerity and attacks on the poor.

     

     

    God help us!

     

     

    God Bless Wee Oscar and Wee Ross Owens

  7. embramike says "the Huns are Deid" on

    Canamalar @ 13:13

     

     

    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

     

     

    Really !! So “censure debate”, “emotional blackmail”, “nasty shot”, “underhanded tactics”.

     

     

    No intention of censuring debate – discuss our team selection for Sunday, transfer targets for CL campaign or Ronny’s philosophy to your hearts content. After all it’s a football blog.

     

     

    As for politics, have said repeatedly I wouldn’t besmirch this blog with my opinions – go find a political forum rather than bore the tits off those of us who find it all so tedious.

     

     

    As for emotional blackmail, I was referring to a fine memorial piece on someone very close to CQN hearts and paying it the respect I thought it was due. I hoped other like minded fholk would have thought the same way.

     

     

    And “underhanded tactics” .. seriously !! There were no tactics involved, just astonished at how blinkered the political blowhards are to what else is going on around them.

     

     

    They are self centred, sanctimonious attention seekers, who bore the rest of us to death with their incessant bleating on very subjective political matters, as if their opinion is unimpeachable.

     

     

    All in all sir I think you are due me an apology. I will be at CQN corner before our final hoime game. You should recognise me. I sat next to you at the AGM when Res 12, to which I was a co-signatory, was presented to the board. See you then.

  8. the battered bunnet

     

     

    Battered bunnet

     

    09:27 on 8 May, 2015

     

     

    Was watching Sevilla v Fiorentina last night.

     

     

    Emdy else see the bloke in the Hoops, 2003 Edition?

     

    ========================================

     

    Aye, just caught my eye , although I’m sure it was a Sporting Lisbon shirt.

     

    I’m claiming to be right as I had the ability to spot your post amongst a’ the political stuff last night :-)

     

    HH

  9. Good afternoon

     

    Wonderful tribute to Oscar, a year may have past since he left to take ownership of that big green tractor, but it’s clear from the many posts and I’m sure many more tears shed the Celtic Warrior still remains firmly in our thoughts,

     

     

    God Bless ye Wee Mhan were all the better for having known you

  10. jungle jim

     

     

    At work so can’t really debate , but I think Charlie Mulgrew is too slow to play centre back the way Ronny lines the team up

  11. !!Bada Bing!! on

    JM–Craig Thomson the MIB on Sunday,another failure rewarded.Cue game stopped as often as possible,and an early booking for Brown,Bitton or VVD.

  12. jungle jim hot smoked

     

     

    15:41 on 8 May, 2015

     

     

    Izaguirre will be missing for CL qualifiers! or at least part of them, due to international duty.

     

     

    IMO we need a CH to play beside VVD, a LB and a Striker in place for beginning of CL qualifiers.

     

    I would say GMS is well ahead of Forrest as first pick.

  13. !!Bada Bing!! on

    Any odds on McLeish at Dumfries for BT Sport ,wi the blue microfone …?

     

    #deadmansshoes

  14. Lump in my throat reading about Oscar, had the honour of meeting him and his dad in Belfast on our way back to Glasgow from the Liverpool match in Dublin…

     

     

    Never forgotten…

  15. Tricoloured Ribbon

     

    15:11 on

     

    8 May, 2015

     

    So, is it Cameron on the brink again and a massive SNP vote means feck all,

     

    Seriously is that it!

     

     

    Only if Scottish Labour learn nothing. Former speech writer to Tony Blair spelled it out this morning.

     

     

    A left leaning Labour Party is unelectable in England.

     

     

    If we are ever to break the syndrome of getting Tory Governments we did not elect, Scottish Labour must have the guts to advocate an independent ~Scotland.

     

     

    Too often in the recent past we have been fed guff about an independent Scotland depriving our socialist brethren in the south of a Labour Government.

     

     

    Well once again, our socialist brethren in the south have flung us to the Tory wolves.

  16. St Patricks day 1956 on

    Wee Oscar

     

     

    In loving memory of a very special boy.

     

    RIP

     

    To the Knox family, my prayers are with you.

  17. RobinBhoy

     

    15:42 on

     

    8 May, 2015

     

    So the Tories have a 12 seat majority, make that at least 16 as Sinn Fein don’t turn up so he doesn’t even need the DUP’s votes to drive through five more years of austerity and attacks on the poor.

     

     

    God help us!

     

     

    God Bless Wee Oscar and Wee Ross Owens

     

     

    Time that they started turning up. Abstensionism a convenient get out.

  18. Anyone – I may have missed it, but have the SFA responded to the request from Celtic seeking clarification of the penalty incident in the semi-final? If they have why have the Club not imformed the supporters of the response. The whole thing stinks. The club were pressurised into contacting the SFA by the fans but they should have been asking the questions in the first place. Think they hope that this will just go away and we will forget about it, hopefully I am wrong. Meanwhile the cheats are free to carrying on their excuse of what they call refereeing this weekend. This was the clubs chance to connect with the fans and take away an element of mis-trust. We can but hope.

  19. Jungle Jim,

     

     

    I’m going to put up the team I reckon who will be first picks in the coming seasons Group stages.

     

     

    Gordon

     

    Lustig Denayer (if he returns) VVD ?

     

    Broonie Bitton

     

    Johansen

     

    ? ……. ?

     

    ?

     

     

    If Denayer doesn’t return, an other obvious ?

     

     

    The ? doesn’t mean to say anything other than, not a definite starter, IMO, in the hardest and most unforgiving tournament in Football.

  20. Good to see that Celtic are promoting Tony Fitzpatrick’s book on the official site and in the Celtic View.

  21. Wee Oscar an amazing little boy – God Bless him!

     

     

    A wee tear in my eye reading the article but I often smile when I think of him as our mascot at the Cliftonville game.

     

     

    Lined-up with Broonie and the match officials (for the official photo) and he makes a beeline for the ball (the ref had placed on the centre-spot) – where he proceeds to hoof it up the park.

     

     

    My image of a ‘priceless’ wee bhoy!

  22. South Of Tunis on

    Tricoloured Ribbon @ 15 11.

     

     

    A victory for the politics of fear . A victory for the politics of unthinking revenge . Call me Dave now has to pander to English Nationalism and Scottish Nationalism.The former will see a big shift in the Barnet Formula and the latter will see more devolution being offered on a you want it , you can pay for it basis. The poor , the sick , the disabled and the elderly will be screwd.

  23. Embramike..,

     

    It was the year before res 12, we met, I sat at that meeting with fgf.

     

    And if it’s just a football blog why do we spend so much time on charity ?

     

    It’s more than a football blog and always has been, politics has been discussed from day one in some form or other. I standby my censorship accusation it’s not anyone’s but the hosts place to decide what goes and what doesn’t. It’s been said many times if you don’t want to talk politics start a discussion about your preferred subject and scroll by the political debates, it was noted on here last night there were plenty the wanted to have a go at ernie and neganon, simply because they do not want to hear what they have to say, yet when bgx and snakes were spouting their doctrine thats ok.

     

    I thought it was shameful that you used the main article to some how back up your argument as if there was any link at all, there is and was no link to ernie debating his political views and any disrespect to Oscar however you tried to make such a link and that was out of order IMO whether you see it like that or not that is how it came across, so I’d say you owe Ernie an apology for that.

  24. corkcelt

     

     

     

     

    15:34 on

     

     

    8 May, 2015

     

     

     

     

    Final result Tories 331.bloody hell, 99 ahead of Labour in what was supposed to be a neck and neck race. How could the pollsters be so wrong. Deduct the 4 Shinner abstensionists and its 331 to 315 total Opposition. DUP not required at this stage IMO.

     

    ===

     

    Don’t agree, it is still a slim majority. A handful of back benchers agitating for more extreme measures and ignoring the party whip could cause the Tories a massive problem (The same problem Major’s tenure was plagued with) An agreement with the DUP will allow Cameron some wiggle room in dealing with some of his more troublesome MPs. The DUP are already making noises about the SNP being the biggest threat to the UK. Meanwhile in the occupied six counties the nationalist community were sold out by the SDLP hopefully their fate will mirror that of their erstwhile friends in the New Labour party.

  25. Very moving article ,

     

     

    My thoughts are with wee Oscar and his family,

     

    sad , heartbreaking indeed.

  26. Jungle Jim Hot Smoked on

    Borgo67, Gary67 and Petec,

     

    Thanks for your responses. I think people`s momentary fascination with a political ballot on who runs capitalism best coupled with the understandably emotional response to Paul`s Leader means that Celtic opinions will have to wait for another day.

     

    Until then,cheerio .

     

     

    JJ

  27. A Ceiler Gonof Rust on

    Paul67, a very touching and fitting tribute to wee Oscar.

     

     

    Philvis @ 13.01, very nice words pal.

     

     

     

    HH Oscar Knox

  28. johann murdoch on

    Bada -never mind that whats the odds on a penalty sevco , QOS red card-then 8 mins extra time? HH

  29. Drambowiecelt on

    Paul67…. Moving Article God Bless the wee man.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    H.H.

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