Comedian and actor Rob Delaney has posted an emotional message to Facebook paying tribute to NHS and hospice ‘heroes’ who cared for his two-year-old son before he tragically died from brain cancer last month.
Delaney, best known for starring in Channel 4’s Catastrophe, announced the awful news on Friday. His son Henry was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2016 and had extensive surgery and treatment to remove it – but the cancer returned last autumn.
The 41-year-old American actor, who lives in London, praised all those who’d cared for his son and urged everyone to make a donation to the charities that helped look after little Henry if they possibly can.
Delaney wrote on Facebook: “I have very sad news. My two-and-a-half-year-old son Henry has passed away… My wife and Henry’s older brothers and I are devastated of course. Henry was a joy. He was smart, funny, and mischievous and we had so many wonderful adventures together, particularly after he’d moved home following 15 months living in hospitals.
“His tumor 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. His drive to live and to love and to connect was profound.”
Delaney went on: “I am astonished by the love-in-action displayed by Henry’s mom and his brothers. They are why I will endeavor to not go mad with grief. I don’t want to miss out on their beautiful lives. I’m greedy for more experiences with them.
“The NHS nurses and doctors and the home carers and charity workers who helped our family survive Henry’s illness will be my heroes until the day I die. I am desperately sad right now, but I can say with authority that there is good in this world.
“If you’d like to help other families in the UK with very sick children, please make a donation to Rainbow Trust (https://rainbowtrust.org.uk) or Noah’s Ark (https://www.noahsarkhospice.org.uk) 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.”
He finished his message with: “Thank you, beautiful Henry, for spending as much time with us as you did. We miss you so much.”
Reacting to the sad news, Rainbow Trust said on Twitter: “We are hugely grateful and overwhelmed by the generosity of those donating in Henry’s name. Your support means we are able to help more families like the Delaney’s when they need us most. Thank you so very much.”
And Noah’s Ark Hospice added: “Everyone at Noah’s Ark is extremely saddened by the recent passing of Henry, son of @robdelaney. Noah’s Ark is continuing to support the family and wanted to thank everyone who has donated in Henry’s name.”
Delaney’s friends and fellow celebrities also left messages in support of the actor and his family.
Dwayne Johnson said: “Stay strong my friend. My ohana sends our love and light to you and your ohana.”
Actor Ryan Reynolds wrote: “Words fail in comparison to what my friend @robdelaney experienced. I‘m making a donation to http://rainbowtrust.org.uk in Henry’s memory. If you’re inclined, you can too.”
Comedian Mindy Kaling added: “Rob, my heart is broken for you and your family. All my love to you.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn even left a message, saying: “I am so sorry for your loss. This is a really lovely tribute. All of my thoughts are with you and your family.”
And after a black cab driver left a comment on Twitter saying he’d once driven the actor and his son, Delaney gave some incredibly moving and personal details about just how much his son loved riding in black cabs.
Cabbie Mike said: “I’m so sorry to hear your sad news Rob. I took you and Henry to GOSH one day last year and it stuck with me what an absolute trooper of a boy he was. He was, without hyperbole, an inspiration to me, and I’m so gutted to hear of his passing. Sending love to you and your family.”
Delaney replied: “You’re very kind to write Mike. Thank you.
“Riding in black cabs was one of Henry’s great joys. He would often thank the driver in sign language at the end of a ride. Many drivers wouldn’t accept £ when they learned our destination or would give me £ to donate to hospital trust. Good people.”
Make a donation if you can, it will go a really long way.
(Images: Rex / Rob Delaney’s Instagram)