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A Young Boy’s Final Gift
27 October 2017

Accomplished author Kavisha with his first publication.

Little Kavisha puts his knowledge of dinosaurs to good use — by writing a book as a tribute to his mother.

For nine-year-old Kavisha Fernando, writing a book was the last act of love for his mother, Keshari, one of HCA’s patients. The loving, close-knit family of four was struck with devastating news on 27 May 2016 — a date his father Umesh Fernando remembers all too clearly.

Umesh shared, “My wife was diagnosed with stage four cancer on that day. It was also her birthday.”

Keshari was only in her early 30s and had no prior symptoms, until she started experiencing shortness of breath and was subsequently hospitalised. The diagnosis dealt a great blow to the family, with Kavisha and his seven-year-old sister, Kavya, suddenly having to grapple with the prospect of losing their mother at a tender age.

My wife was diagnosed with stage four cancer on that day. It was also her birthday.

A writer in the making

A big fan of dinosaurs, Kavisha’s love of reading and writing was sparked at an early age. “Keshari would take the kids to the library twice a week and select books for them to read,” Umesh said.

“Kavisha has been fascinated with dinosaurs since he was just two or three years old.” The cherubic boy pored over the books enthusiastically, committing the names of a myriad of dinosaurs to memory.

Umesh decided to take Kavisha’s budding love for books to the next level. “To keep him busy during the school holidays, I taught him how to use Microsoft Word. I told him, ‘Whatever is in your mind, type it in your own words,’” Umesh recalled.

The little school holiday project sparked the start of Kavisha’s Dino Book, a colourful compilation of 33 dinosaurs and their specific characteristics. In December 2016, the doting parents made a decision to publish the final manuscript as a form of encouragement for Kavisha, who was still coming to terms with his mother’s deteriorating health.

I told him, ‘Whatever is in your mind, type it in your own words…

Gifts of kindness

One of the youngest authors to be published by Partridge Publishing, it was a proud moment for Kavisha and his family when his book was officially launched in January at his school Cantonment Primary School. Support poured in generously from staff, parents and friends of the family, with all 100 copies of the book sold out within a day.

The sensible boy expressed his wishes to channel the sales proceeds towards covering his mother’s hospitalisation expenses, a gesture that greatly touched Umesh.

Keshari passed on just four days after the official launch.

Proud father Umesh with his two brave children – Kavisha and little sister Kavya.

Courage amid grief

The burden of grief weighed heavily on the family, especially Kavisha, a quiet boy who kept a lot to himself. “Kavya often talks about how much she misses her mother, but Kavisha doesn’t express himself as much,” Umesh shared. “I received calls from his teachers that he became disoriented after her passing.”

There seems to be a void in Kavisha and Kavya, which used to be filled with their mother’s love and positivity. “The kids used to share every detail of their day at school with their mother,” Umesh said of his wife, who had opted to stay at home to care for Kavisha and his sister. “She was the strongest person; there isn’t a photo of her where she wasn’t laughing or smiling.”

The sensible boy expressed his wishes to channel the sales proceeds towards covering his mother’s hospitalisation expenses…

Umesh is planning on doing a reprint of Kavisha’s Dino Book in the later part of 2017. “We might do a reprint of 1,500 copies and donate part of the proceeds to either HCA Hospice Care or Singapore Cancer Society,” he shared.

It is certainly welcome news to the big-hearted dinosaur fan. “I hope to be a palaeontologist when I grow up!” Kavisha declared softly with a shy smile.

To find out more about how you can help beneficiaries and families like Kavisha, please visit us at hca.org.sg – step up and be a donor or volunteer today.