There are no words, not in English, Spanish, Arabic, or Hebrew, that have been invented to explain what it’s like to lose a child.
The nightmarish heartache of it. The unexplainable trepidation that follows.
The child may be gone, but the years the child was meant to live remain behind, solid in the mind like an ageing ghost. The birthdays, the holidays, the last days of school—they all remain, circled in red lipstick on a calendar nailed to the wall. A constant shadow that grows, even in the dark.
There are no words.
On this episode of the Good Things Guy Jacpod, we had the privilege of speaking to Natalie Beveridge… a mother who recently lost her child “Tiny the Mighty”, but a mother who has also put all her focus and energy into honouring her son by inspiring hope.
The South African National Blood Service has on average less than 3 days supply of blood and half a day’s platelets at any given time and this incredible mom is doing EVERYTHING that she can to get more people to donate.
Listen to the full show below:
When Keiran was born in Nov 2017 he was perfect, content and the happiest little chap. Adored by his big brother Connor, he was such a delight that he fitted into their family like he always belonged. Little did they know that their moments and memories with him would be limited to 9 short months.
Little did they know that their entire universe and perspective would be turned inside out in a few months after being blessed with such a perfect gift.
“I never thought it would happen to me, I scrolled past posts on Facebook and never imagined something as terrible as losing a child could ever be a possibility. I lived in a bubble, happy and content with my perfect family and life… I relished in my family and its happiness, I thanked God for my many abundant blessings.
The day I received the news that my baby boy had Leukaemia my perfect world shattered into a million pieces, I was in shock, devastated, confused, angry and completely out of control.”
Keiran was diagnosed with AML Leukemia in August 2018, a very aggressive form of leukemia which is treated very intensively with Chemotherapy from the outset. As Keiran was so young there were a lot of unknowns but it was all out of their hands. The family were bombarded with doctors, hospitals, ICU’s, information overload, endless blood transfusions, multiple drugs and the anxiety of not knowing what each hour would bring.
“We steeled our nerves and had to face each new blow with positivity and resilience despite our breaking hearts – we had to look for the tiny things in this newfound madness to give us hope and strength to carry on. Somehow we knew that in the face of adversity the only thing that would pull us through was our grit and the innate belief that we would overcome this together.
We coined the term Tiny The Mighty as our baby boy fought this disease with us every step of the way, teaching us more in a mere few weeks than we have ever learnt in an entire lifetime although he was Tiny he was Mighty.”
During this ordeal, the Beveridge family had such an outpouring of love and support by family, friends and complete strangers that were moved and touched by Keiran’s story.
“My usual Type A personality that liked to control everything had to succumb to being completely vulnerable, raw and open to outside help. We had meals, flowers and groceries delivered to the house, teddies, presents and handmade cards made by children who had saved up pocket money to buy Keiran something to help inspire him on his fight for his life. We were so humbled and honoured by the support we received that it was mind blowing.”
During the process, Natalie encouraged friends and family to become a blood donor with the South African National Blood Service (SANBS). This was due to the fact that Keiran needed transfusions almost on a daily basis in order to survive and the wait to receive blood was agonising as the critical shortage in this country is a massive problem.
“I felt so helpless as a mother, nurturer, comforter and protector that the only way I knew to survive was to get involved in something greater than my own pain and make it something powerful.
I set up a blood drive with the SANBS in September and it was a massive success. We had over 254 blood donors, 80% of blood donated came from new donors-all inspired by my #TinyTheMighty’s story and the desire to make a difference. Countless numbers of people on social media inspired by the #TinyTheMighty story donated at their nearest donor centre and through this campaign a close sense of community and giving back was fostered.”
Natalie also decided to team up with Cupcakes of Hope and contacted Sandy Cipriani as she thought that she could combine the blood drive and a Cupcakes of Hope party and raise awareness for childhood cancer.
Cupcakes of Hope is a Non-Profit Organisation that raises awareness and funds for families in need of medical assistance, they do this through the love of baking.
People who couldn’t donate blood at the blood drive but wanted to get involved helped bake cupcakes. This inspired so many people to get involved with a charity dedicated to helping families affected by the ravages of cancer.
The blood drive and fundraising for Cupcakes of Hope was a massive success.
Sadly, Keiran passed away on the 9th of September 2018, a devastating blow after a mere 6 weeks after diagnosis. The cruellest experience for any parent to endure.
“The loss of Keiran has fundamentally changed us and altered our being, his brief life has given us new perspective on what really matters in this world. Our choice now is how do we weave his story into our life’s tapestry and make it something beautiful.
We faced this unimaginable reality and loss with the comfort that Keiran’s life was not in vain. Through his story, we managed to inspire tiny actions of love. We had the ability to save lives through all the blood donated at the drive as well as help families financially affected by cancer through the Cupcakes of Hope fund raiser.”
During this process, Natalie realised that it wasn’t the big things in life that mattered most, but the tiny things that have the most impact. Their Tiny The Mighty story had a massive impact.
“His legacy will live on through me and I have decided to continue honouring him in everything that I do.
I have teamed up with the South African National Blood Service and Cupcakes of Hope and will keep the Tiny The Mighty flag flying high by raising awareness for childhood cancer and by inspiring hope. It’s doing the Tiny things which show you care which make the most impact.”
If you would like to make a difference and contribute to the Tiny The Mighty legacy get involved by becoming a blood donor and help charities like Cupcakes of Hope by raising funds to help families in need of financial aid.
The next Tiny The Mighty SANBS blood drive and Cupcakes of Hope party is this coming Saturday and Sunday 18th & 19th of May 9am-3pm at Dainfern Golf Estate Clubhouse (Visitors to estate please provide drivers license to access estate) but there are also blood drives continuously happening around the country, for more information… click here.
This story originally appeared on The Good Things Guy a site that believes good words, good thoughts and good deeds will help heal the world.