Wee Oscar becomes Twitter star after tweeting about his cancer

By Peter Coulter
BBC News, Belfast

  • Published
Knox family
Image caption,
Still smiling - Oscar cuddles up with mum Leona and dad Stephen

Three year old Oscar from Mallusk has become a star on social networking site Twitter.

Oscar Knox was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in November. It's a rare cancer which mainly affects children.

His parents set up the Twitter account so they could update friends and family on Oscar's condition each time he was in hospital.

He is now followed by more than 3,000 people across the world.

Among his followers are families whose children have the same condition.

Neuroblastoma is a cancer that affects around 100 children each year in the UK. It develops from nerve cells called neuroblasts.


Oscar was diagnosed with high risk neuroblastoma in November 2011. "It came as a massive massive shock to us" said his dad Stephen.

"It's been really hard for us as a family, Oscar's little sister Izzy has to stay at her grandparents as due to Oscar's radiation she isn't allowed to be near him.

"He's been in and out of the hospital every other day for the last 6 months, 3 or 4 days a week.

Media caption,

Oscar Knox and his parents were interviewed on BBC Radio Ulster

"In the early days we used to always find ourselves repeating the same information to people inquiring about Oscar's health. We set up a blog but found it took quite a long time to update.

"We moved over to Twitter and set up the @Wee_Oscar account so we could get short updates out quickly on his hospital trips and how he was feeling. It just kind of took off and other families going through the same thing started following us. Members of the public began to follow us after this and it just grew and grew."

The Knox family feel that Twitter is helping families of sick children connect and find support with each other.

"I suppose years ago people didn't know where to turn to find support. They felt alone. Now all you have to do is switch on Twitter and you can find other families instantly.

Image caption,
Happier times - Oscar before he was diagnosed.

"It's great to hear from other families, we connect with them and follow updates on each other's children. It does make you feel like you're not on your own. We are even followed by families as far away as Yemen.

"Oscar really enjoys the Twitter and it gives him something to focus on. I read him all the messages that come in."

The toddler has recently been under going specialist radiation treatment in London and after returning to Belfast will hopefully undergo a stem cell transplant.

"He's just such a positive happy wee lad, he is always smiling and everyone who meets him falls in love with him." said Stephen.

Mum Leona added "I'm just so proud of Oscar, he gives us so much inspiration and puts so much into perspective for other families. Despite what he is going though he always has a huge big smile on his face.

Oscars family are now committed to raising awareness of Neuroblastoma though his Twitter account @Wee_Oscar and his blog

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