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Catastrophe’s Rob Delaney opens up about his first Christmas without his son

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Kayleigh Dray
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Rob Delaney’s two-year-old son Henry died earlier this year after spending half his life battling a cancerous brain tumour. Here, the actor opens up about his first Christmas without his little boy.

Earlier this year, Rob Delaney, who is best known for starring in Channel 4’s Catastrophe, confirmed that his son, Henry, has died after spending half his life battling a cancerous brain tumour.

“I will endeavour not to go mad with grief,” he wrote on Facebook in January, adding: “We had so many wonderful adventures together.”

Now, almost a year later, Delaney has taken to Twitter to open up about his family’s first Christmas without Henry.

“[The day] came and went,” he said, adding that Christmas “itself was OK, maybe because there were so many horrible, painful days leading up to it; we must have hit our quota or something. 

“We talked about him a lot and included his memory throughout the day.”

Delaney went on to explain why he has chosen to speak publicly about his loss, pointing out that he does so “in an effort to destigmatise grief”. 

“My family is sad and in pain because our beautiful two-year-old boy died after a long illness. Why wouldn’t we be sad? Why wouldn’t we be angry and confused?”

“Tweets like this aren’t therapeutic to me, nor are they ‘updates’,” added Delaney. 

“I just want other bereaved parents and siblings to feel seen/heard/respected/loved. And maybe they might help someone not schooled in grief support a friend better. I don’t know.”

He added a photo of his late son looking out of a window at a safari park, captioning it simply as: “My sweet boy.” 

Henry’s brain tumour was diagnosed in 2016, shortly after his first birthday, following “persistent vomiting and weight loss”.

After he was admitted to an NHS hospital, Delaney’s son had “surgery to remove the tumour and further treatment through the early part of 2017”.

Tragically, though, the cancer returned last autumn and Henry passed away in January.

“His tumour and surgery left him with significant physical disabilities, but he quickly learned sign language and developed his own method of getting from A to B shuffling on his beautiful little bum,” noted Delaney on Facebook.

“His drive to live and to love and to connect was profound.”

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Delaney previously praised the “NHS nurses and doctors and the home carers and charity workers who helped our family survive Henry’s illness”, insisting that they “will be my heroes until the day I die”.

He added: “If you’d like to help other families in the UK with very sick children, please make a donation to Rainbow Trust or Noah’s Ark in Henry’s name or in the name of someone you love. Our family would be in much worse shape right now if it weren’t for them. 

“I would also urge you to take concrete and sustained action to support the NHS, however you can. Do not take it for granted.”

Images: Rex Features

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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