Thursday 23 October 2014

Little Oscar's parents say farewell to 'wonderful son'

Published 12/05/2014 | 02:30

Parents Stephen and Leona Knox follow the hearse as hundreds of mourners leave the church after funeral mass for little Oscar Knox at St Bernard's Church in Glengormley. Picture: Alan Lewis - PhotopressBelfast.co.uk
Parents Stephen and Leona Knox follow the hearse as hundreds of mourners leave the church after funeral mass for little Oscar Knox at St Bernard's Church in Glengormley. Picture: Alan Lewis - PhotopressBelfast.co.uk
Boxer Paddy Barnes greets Leona Knox after the funeral of Oscar. Photo: Presseye / Declan Roughan
Boxer Paddy Barnes greets Leona Knox after the funeral of Oscar. Photo: Presseye / Declan Roughan

IRISH boxer Paddy Barnes was among hundreds of mourners who provided a standing ovation for the parents of Oscar Knox as they said a heartbreaking goodbye to a "wonderful and special" son.

Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness was also among an estimated 1,500 mourners who came to pay tribute to the brave five-year-old and his family.

Oscar died on Thursday after a two-and-a-half-year struggle against neuroblastoma – a rare and aggressive cancer.

There were emotional scenes as his parents, Stephen and Leona Knox, tearfully recalled their son's battle for life.

It was the first time the family have spoken publicly about their ordeal.

They have now launched a massive social media campaign, to increase awareness of the rare disease, and to raise badly needed funds for research.

At the end of a Mass of the Angels in St Bernard's Church, Glengormley, Co Antrim, Olympic boxing winner Paddy Barnes read one of the prayers.

Stephen Knox told the congregation: "Oscar meant the world and more to me and Leona. But in all honesty there are no words that could ever do him justice.

"He was kind, caring, sensitive, loving, smart, mischievous and unbelievably funny. He was the most wonderful little personality and he had an uncanny ability to wrap people around his little finger within seconds of meeting them – particularly female nurses."

He said Oscar had spent half of his five years battling cancer.

"He has seen things that no child should ever have to see; he has felt pain that no child should ever have to feel.

"But he endured it all, with the most amazing courage, and determination to win.

"Sadly for Oscar it wasn't to be. But his fight touched the hearts of people the world over, and he has achieved much more in his five and a half short years, than many of us could ever hope to achieve in a lifetime."

Irish Independent

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