Rob Delaney is a well-known comedian, most recently recognized for his role as co-creator, writer, and actor on Catastrophe. He’s also known for his humorous political observations on Twitter.
Now, however, Delaney is taking to social media to share grim news of a very personal nature.
His very young son, Henry, has passed away at two-and-a-half years old. Heartbreaking.
On Friday, February 9th, Rob Delaney took to Facebook to share a post that must have been astonishingly difficult to write:
“I have very sad news. My two and a half year year old son Henry has passed away.”
“Henry had been diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2016, shortly after his first birthday, following persistent vomiting and weight loss.”
Horrible at any age. Unspeakable when it’s happening to a baby.
“He had surgery to remove the tumor and further treatment through the early part of 2017.”
Unfortunately, that did not fully resolve the problem.
“Then the cancer returned last autumn and he died in January.”
“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 fifteen months living in hospitals.”
Henry had just started his life anew, it seems.
“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.”
Children can be amazingly resourceful in the face of overwhelming obstacles.
“His drive to live and to love and to connect was profound.”
“I am astonished by the love-in-action displayed by Henry’s mom and his brothers.”
And he credits them with giving him purpose as he goes on.
“They are why I will endeavor to not go mad with grief.”
This is perhaps a reference to Rob Delaney’s struggle as an alcoholic. He has been sober for 16 years this month.
“I don’t want to miss out on their beautiful lives. I’m greedy for more experiences with them.”
That is such a healthy sentiment.
“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.”
Rob Delaney is American but currently lives in London.
“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.”
Hospice is sad enough, but hospice services for children is … bleak. Such services need all of the resources that they can get.
“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.”
The NHS, the UK’s single-payer healthcare system, comes under attack by politicians who — like those who oppose Obamacare in the US — seek to dismantle universal health services.
Rob Delaney ends his heartbreaking post with a plea.
“Finally, I ask that you respect my family’s privacy regarding this matter. I have nothing else to say that I haven’t said here.”
Of course. What could anyone ask beyond what he has shared? Why would anyone want to force him to speak about this?
“Thank you, beautiful Henry, for spending as much time with us as you did. We miss you so much.”
Rest in peace, Henry.