City Hall blood drive for Wee Oscar

Published Monday, 20 January 2014
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The family of little superstar Oscar Knox, who has been fighting an aggressive form of cancer since he was three, are hoping people will support a major blood drive which could save countless lives.

City Hall blood drive for Wee Oscar
Give blood and you could help save a child like Oscar. (© UTV)

A major blood donation session is set to be held in Belfast City Hall, prompted by the efforts of Wee Oscar's family to raise awareness of the extent of the shortfall in Northern Ireland.

Oscar, now aged five, has already won hearts and support from across community divides with his courage and determination.

In just over a year, the brave little boy has received 30 blood transfusions and almost 140 platelet transfusions. His family say he simply would not be here without them.

But blood stocks have a shelf-life and there is also a serious lack of donors in Northern Ireland.

Just 6% of people give blood.

As Oscar's mum Leona told Belfast City Council back in November: "That leaves a massive 94% who have the potential to save lives - the lives of mothers in childbirth and their newborn babies; elderly neighbours needing a hip transplant; a young family in a devastating car crash; or indeed a 5-year-old boy fighting cancer with all his might to see another birthday."

If you could see the reality of where and how donated blood gets used in the Children's hospital, we have absolutely no doubt that the existing 6% of people here who are blood donors would be joined by thousands more.

Leona and Stephen Knox, in their blog

Leona and Oscar's dad Stephen addressed the council as a motion regarding the City Hall blood drive was proposed by Sinn Féin's Tierna Cunningham.

All the councillors present were moved by the family's plea for help, for Oscar and for the many others in need of transfusions, and the motion received unanimous support.

In their latest blog about their difficult journey, the Knox family write of their hopes for Tuesday.

"We are so hopeful this will be a big success - as well as Oscar's stories, we have seen dozens of other families continue to lead relatively "normal" lives with their children thanks to the availability of blood transfusions," they say.

"This includes little children who have health issues other than cancer coming in regularly to receive blood wearing their school uniforms."

Even some well-known locals, including familiar faces from UTV, will be taking part in the event which will be held in the Great Hall.

"We have absolutely no idea if 50 people or 500 people will turn up to this event, but we hope that by continuing to share Oscar's story, many people will be moved to come down and donate blood for the first time, or get back into giving blood regularly," the Knox family add.

"The event is right in Belfast city centre - we are hoping many office workers will be able to take one hour out of their day to do this good deed. Please encourage colleagues and spread the word.

"Use it as an opportunity to have a look around our beautiful City Hall!"

You get tea and biscuits after you have given blood - what a great way to spend your tea break!

Leona and Stephen Knox

While certain medical requirements must be met, you can give blood if you are over the age of 17, and under the age of 66 if you are a first-time donor.

Within days of giving blood, you could help to save a life.

Information on the requirements can be found on the NI Blood Transfusion Service website.

To speed up the administration process on the day, you can register in advance by texting 'BLOOD' to 60081 or calling 0500 534 666.

In the event of Tuesday's session at City Hall receiving a high number of donors, details of other sessions around Northern Ireland are also available online.

"If this event turns out to be a huge success, do not be annoyed if there is any delay or you decide to return on another day at a different session - this will be the BEST POSSIBLE OUTCOME for hundreds of little kids just like Oscar!" the Knox family add.

Later on Monday, Belfast City Hall will 'pulse' red to highlight the imminent blood drive.

The blood donation session will be held on Tuesday from 10am until 5pm in the Great Hall.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
5 Comments
Lorna in Belfast wrote (285 days ago):
Hope wee Oscar beats his illness, as a pregnant woman I cannot give blood but have given cord blood from last pregnancies, would always encourage blood donation as it's so important.
annie mac in belfast wrote (285 days ago):
wee oscar has fought so hard for his life, the rest of us have no idea how he and his family cope. due to a medical condition i cant give blood but the rest of my family will be there. i hope there is a brilliant turn out for him. xx
Gay Guy in Belfast wrote (285 days ago):
Due to being gay my blood isn't good enough. Eh Mr Poots!!! That said I wish the family all the best.
UM in Co.Armagh wrote (285 days ago):
Gave blood every 6 months since age 18. Needed 3 units after childbirth 24 years ago and know the good it does. Continued to donate until Blood Transfusion Service Policy said it couldn't take any more as no guarantee the blood I received (via their service) was clear of CJD! Lost two donors as my husband has fear of needles and won't go alone.
emma in downpatrick wrote (285 days ago):
This little man is am insperation to everyone wish i was able to give blood but due to diabetes i cant but he has my support all the way team oscar keep it up wee man
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