School friends of a Seagoe Primary School pupil who died last year of leukaemia have raised money for the charity which helped make the seven-year-old’s final days truly special.
Little Kevin Zhang, a Primary 3 pupil, passed away last March after battling the disease for a year and five months.
Less than two weeks before he died, the charity Angel Wishes organised a number of treats for Kevin, including a party and 10 pin bowling for him and his classmates.
His mum Eve said, “March 19 last year was Kevin’s first night allowed back home from hospital and we got in touch with Angel Wishes that day.
“They immediately arranged for Kevin and us to go to the cinema for a private showing of the movie ‘Home’ the following day. Then on the Sunday we had a great party with Kevin’s school friends, teachers and parents at bowling.
“It was unforgettable, and all the children mentioned how they loved the party in an ‘Our memories of Kevin’ book they made afterwards.” She added, “After that, Angel Wishes also arranged for some superheroes to visit Kevin at home. Kevin loved baking, and enjoyed the evening when a chef came to our home.
“Kevin was a big Manchester United fan, and wanted be a football mascot. Angel Wishes arranged for him to be a mascot for Glenavon FC on the Tuesday night but unfortunately Kevin passed away early on Tuesday morning.
“Even so, the team manager came to our house and brought a signed football shirt they prepared for Kevin.”
Kevin, who was diagnosed two months after his sixth birthday, underwent treatment for 10 months after which, his mum said, he was “really delighted” to go back to school.
She said, “He got to have his seventh birthday party with all his class friends. However, just one week later Kevin relapsed and had to stay in hospital for more treatment.”
During treatment in the Royal in Belfast, Kevin was allowed home to sit his grade 2 piano exam, in which he went on to gain a distinction.
He was then transferred to Bristol for a bone marrow transplant, but it failed and he relapsed again after two months.
On March 10, Bristol hospital arranged an air ambulance for Kevin to go back to the Royal, where he stayed for a short time before being allowed home.
Said Eve, “Kevin really loved school. When he was in remission he just wanted to go back.”
Seagoe PS principal Chris Scott said, “Since Kevin’s death the school community has been very supportive of Angel Wishes which helps give terminally ill children wonderful experiences in the short time they have left. This Christmas, teaching and non-teaching staff asked parents not to buy them presents but to make a donation to Angel Wishes instead.”
The amount donated was £1,520, which was presented recently to Gaye Kerr of the charity.
The presentation was made beside a bench donated to the school by Kevin’s family. The plaque on its reads, ‘Happy memories of playing here with our friend Kevin Zhang, who loved this school’.