Northern Ireland

Oscar Knox: Ceremony to celebrate 'Wee Oscar' takes place

Oscar Knox Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption Five-year-old Oscar Knox passed away on Thursday

A ceremony to celebrate the life of Oscar Knox, the County Antrim boy who died after a long battle against an aggressive form of cancer, has taken place.

Oscar, who was five, died on Thursday after a two-and-a-half year battle with neuroblastoma.

His family launched the Oscar Knox Appeal campaign during his illness to raise awareness of the condition.

The funeral service took place at St Bernard's Church in Glengormley.

During the service, Oscar's mother, Leona, spoke about her son.

"Oscar's favourite film was Peter Pan," she said.

"We talked to him a few weeks ago about going on a journey to Neverland. We explained that in Neverland, there are no sore knees, no sore heads and no sore tummies.

"Oscar had always told us that when he grew up he wanted to drive a big green tractor instead of a car and he was so excited to hear that Old McDonald was in Neverland and allowed people to drive his big green tractor if they were five and a half.

'So special'

"The best thing about Neverland was the biggest dodi (dummy) shop in the world and that you got a new dodi everyday.

"When we got to this point in our story, Oscar took his dodi out of his mouth and had the biggest smile and said 'this is the best day of my life'. He was just so special. "

Image caption A floral arrangement spelt out the name of 'Wee Oscar'
Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption People lined the route of the procession on the way to the church
Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption Some held up messages of support for Oscar's family
Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption The family said bright coloured clothes, including sporting tops, were welcomed
Image copyright PA
Image caption Oscar was a Glasgow Celtic fan, and the club wore black armbands during Sunday's match

The family was joined by friends and supporters of the fundraising campaign in a procession from the NI Children's Hospice towards the church.

Oscar was a fan of Glasgow Celtic and the football club had joined in the fundraising campaign.

At Sunday's home match with Dundee United, the Celtic players wore black armbands and a tribute was shown on big screens before the game.

In the fifth minute, fans stood to sing You'll Never Walk Alone.

Captured hearts

Oscar was first diagnosed with the disease in November 2011.

After intensive treatment, 'Wee Oscar' was finally given the all-clear in April 2013, but it returned four months later.

His battle against neuroblastoma captured the hearts of many people in Northern Ireland.

In October 2012, he received specialist treatment in America after his family reached their £250,000 fundraising target to pay for the immunotherapy treatment.

After his initial diagnosis, his parents set up a Twitter account so they could update friends and family on Oscar's condition each time he was in hospital.

However, the account quickly attracted thousands of followers.

Among them were families whose children have the same condition.

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