THE father of little Oscar Knox, the Glengormley boy diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, has spoken of the family’s joy after the four-year-old was given the all clear.
In 2011 Oscar was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer which affects one in every 100,000 children.
He was also diagnosed with a chromosome disorder - Jacobson Syndrome, which affects only around 250 children worldwide, making his condition all the more incredible and adding to his monumental battle.
The Hightown boy’s rollercoaster battle against the cancer touched the hearts of tens of thousands of people across the world.
A highly publicised fundraising campaign attracted over 90,000 followers on Facebook and Twitter as well as well-known celebrity endorsements from Celtic manager Neil Lennon, legendary Liverpool footballer Jamie Carragher, broadcasters Stephen Nolan and Jeremy Kyle among many others, raising over £600,000 to pay for vital care.
In November last year, Oscar travelled to America for specialist treatment at one of the world’s leading children’s hospitals. But when doctors diagnosed a problem with his heart he was unable to undergo the planned immunotherapy treatment and had to return home.
However, Oscar’s parents Stephen and Leona never gave up hope throughout their son’s seemingly impossible battle.
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And on Monday they announced the news that their son had received the all clear from his doctors.
“It’s unbelievable, we are just over the moon, it’s incredible news. All his scans came back normal, the doctors could find no sign of anything; it’s the day we thought would never come,” a delighted Stephen told the Times.
On Monday Oscar was out in the park playing on the swings and slides and his parents took him to his favourite pizza restaurant for dinner.
When they announced the news he had received the all clear, more than 100,000 people responded with messages of congratulations on their Facebook and Twitter pages.
Over £600,000 was raised through the Oscar Knox Appeal and many thousands still remain in the fund.
Stephen continued: “There is a 50 per cent chance of relapse with neuroblastoma, so should that happen there is enough money to provide more care, but we are not thinking about that now.
“The money is all with the Neuroblastoma Alliance charity which will use the money to help another sick child, which is good to know.
“Oscar now moves into a more monitoring stage of care and we just have to make sure he doesn’t get into contact with bugs or germs. School in September will be a challenge, but we never thought he would be able to go in the first place.”
Fundraising is set to continue at a charity boxing match in the King’s Hall next month.
However, the family say they are taking a step back to allow Oscar to have a more normal upbringing.
Stephen added: “We cannot thank everyone enough for their support, it has been tremendous.
“Oscar was a fighter all the way, there were tough times and there were many good times and we will never forget the huge amount of support and I would like to convey a massive thanks to everyone who helped us, we will never forget it.
“He literally cannot go out without someone recognising him and we would like to take a step back from the public spotlight to give him a chance at being a normal wee boy for a while.”