Making it easy for others

2018-12-11 06:02
Henry, Amanda and Alfonzo with Cruise and Crouch Lavack holding a photo of their brother Keanu.

Henry, Amanda and Alfonzo with Cruise and Crouch Lavack holding a photo of their brother Keanu.

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After the loss of their son, parents from Retreat have started a foundation to help other parents emotionally and financially should they have a child suffering from any life-threatening disease.

Amanda and Henry Lavack lost their son Keanu (17) in June due to a heart condition.

Henry says that when his wife was about four months pregnant the doctors noticed that their baby had a heart problem. “They told us there is no chance that he is going to lead a normal life, we must just terminate the pregnancy. We didn’t want to go that route and we told them we will not do that but we will take this journey as it comes,” he says.

After Keanu was born he had his first open heart surgery in his first year with the other following at 11 and the last at 14 years.

“We never gave up on him. There were times it was difficult but we are really grateful of the time and journey we took with him.

“Doctors were even surprised that with his condition he lived for so long. For that we are really grateful. If you didn’t know he had this condition you weren’t going to know. He never complained about anything. He lived his life to the fullest,” he says.

Keanu finally lost the battle in June while doing his final year at Cafda School of Skills. “The last few months were difficult. He had a heart failure. It has been difficult, but we are taking each day as it comes and above all we are grateful for all the 17 years we spent with him.”

“He was in and out of hospital,” says Henry.

Having spent so much time at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Rondebosch, Henry says they have seen how it can be emotionally and financially draining for parents when their child is in and out of hospital. In order to help other parents and to keep their son’s journey alive, they decided to start the Keanu Knight Heart Foundation. The foundation recently received its NPO number and will be officially launching on Friday 14 December.

“Our aim is to help other parents. Having a sick child can be difficult and we want to take some burden off the parents by helping them with other things they might need so that they focus more on looking after their child,’’ says Henry.

Frances van Wyk, secretary of the foundation, says that at the launch they will be handing out goodies for the children as well as the parents. “We started work in July 2018, but only received our NPO number a few days ago. Keanu was in and out of hospital and the family just went on an emotional and heavy financial journey.

“So after Keanu passed away his parents want to help other parents and children that’s going through a similar situation, through the organisation. Our aim is to assist parents and children at the hospital who are in financial and emotional difficulty.

“The organisation will not just run on receiving funds, but we will also welcome all sorts of donations such as toiletries and food hampers that will be given to families in need. By the time of his passing Keanu was also waiting on a new heart, but sadly the wait was too long. V For more information, call Frances van Wyk on 071 037 0406 or Henry Lavack on 079 881 9197.

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