Wee Oscar Knox, the little Belfast boy who captivated Philadelphia’s Irish community when he came to Children’s Hospital for cancer treatment, died on Thursday.
On Friday, his family—father Stephen and mother Leona—tweeted: “Our beautiful, amazing and much loved son Oscar James Knox gained his angel wings yesterday afternoon. Sleep tight little man.”
His family had launched the Oscar Knox Appeal to raise money for his treatment for both neuroblastoma, an aggressive cancer affecting children, and Jacobsen’s Syndrome, a rare genetic condition that can affect motor skills and cause heart defects.
A fundraiser at Tir na Nog in Philadelphia in December 2012 raised $27,000 and a bake sale at Sacred Heart Parish in Havertown netted $8,000 for the Knox family. Unfortunately, during “Wee” Oscar’s stay at CHOP in October 2012, where he was to undergo immunotherapy for the cancer, doctors found that he had developed yet another potentially deadly problem, pulmonary hypertension, which made the cancer treatment impossible.
The Knoxes returned to Northern Ireland, but with the love and friendship of the Irish and Irish-Americans who live in the Philadelphia region and adopted them and their two children as their own.
In the past month, the Knoxes let supporters know that all of Oscar’s treatments were suspended and that the focus was going to be on pain relief, an indication that the five-year-old who loved wearing superhero costumes was near death.
The family has established another fund to raise money in Oscar’s name for the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice and the Haematology Unit at The Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children through the JustGiving website.