Mum ‘embraces life’ in tribute to son (7)

Kevin, centre, with his friends after treatment in Bristol. INPT12-021
Kevin, centre, with his friends after treatment in Bristol. INPT12-021

The mother of a seven-year-old Portadown boy who died of leukaemia is holding a coffee morning on Saturday to mark the first anniversary of his death.

And the Portadown woman says the event is her first step in attempting to “embrace life again”.

Little Kevin Zhang, a Primary 3 pupil at Seagoe Primary school, passed away on March 31 last year after battling the disease for a year and five months.

The coffee morning will take place at Seagoe Parish Church from 10am-12.30pm and will raise money for the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, where Kevin had treatment.

His mum Eve said, “A year seems long but for me it still feels like yesterday. I’m often still in tears and I couldn’t really face people normally, so I chose to go to courses in the SRC and take piano lessons from Kevin’s granny, Joan.

“Working every day and having lessons five days each week helped to keep me busy and numb myself.”

But an innocent question, as to how she was going to mark Kevin’s anniversary, and a “beautiful” photo sent to her by Alison Cadden from Seagoe Church, made her confront her feelings.

She said, “When I got home I sat beside the table and started to think.

“I asked myself, ‘Do you still want to escape from people, or are you ready to face them properly again?’.

“Finally, I decided I wanted to get on with life and embrace things again.”

Eve asked her friend Judith Given’s advice on holding a coffee morning for Kevin’s anniversary and came up with the idea of raising money for the hospital.

She explained, “At the beginning when Kevin was sick in November 2013, Seagoe PS and principal Mr Chris Scott raised over £1,900 for the Royal Hospital.

“A further £1,500 was raised last year when Judith ran the Dublin Marathon. We, and Kevin especially, were so proud of her. Judith gave Kevin her marathon medal and he brought it to the hospital with him to show all the doctors and nurses.”

Just two months ago, the school also presented a cheque for £1,520 to charity Angel Wishes, which made Kevin’s final days special by organising a number of treats, including a cinema trip, a bowling party with his school friends, and a visit to his home by chef Emmett McCourt.

His mum said, “Little did we know that would be Kevin’s last day. Before Kevin went to sleep he asked me when he could go back to school and I told him when he got better. He replied ‘Mummy I love you’ and I told him I loved him, too, and to have a good sleep. Now he is sleeping in heaven.”