The ex-wife of a terminally ill father who is desperate to say his last goodbyes to their four kids says she doesn’t want the $231,000 raised to send them to Queensland.
Mark Keans, 39, from Brisbane, who is not expected to live past Christmas, was initially told only one of his children would be allowed to fly to Queensland to visit him due to the state’s border closure.
Following intense public scrutiny, Queensland Health officials relented and said the children would be allowed to visit him under the proviso they first spend 14 days in a quarantine hotel and foot the $16,000 bill.
Within hours, thousands of outraged Australians raised more than $230,000 – including $1,000 from Prime Minister Scott Morrison – through GoFundMe.
But the children’s mother and Mr Keans’ ex-partner, Kylie Green, said she never asked for the money and wants it all returned to the donors.
‘I will pay my own way to take them up there if they want to go. The money shouldn’t go to us because there’s so many more people out there who need the help,’ she told Daily Mail Australia, while thanking the donors for the generosity.
Mr Keans was diagnosed a month ago with an inoperable cancer and is not expected to live until Christmas. Earlier, his family were told only one of his children would be given permission to cross into Queensland to see him in his final moments
Pictured: Mr Keans’ four children. Queensland’s quarantine fees are $4,620 for two adults and two children. Getting all 11 members of the father’s family across the border was financially beyond them
‘I struggle but I’ve done it on my own, they have a roof over their heads, they have clothes, they have everything they need, I give them everything I can.’
Ms Green, who said her 10-year relationship with Mr Kean was ‘complicated’, admits she holds concerns about her children seeing their father.
She also said this was the first time she can recall her ex-husband expressing any interest in seeing his kids since their June 2016 breakup.
‘His last words to them were “daddy will be back to see you on the weekend”,’ Ms Green said through tears.
‘Mark told them mummy and daddy couldn’t be together anymore and they helped him pack up the car – then he just drove away.’
Ms Green said she raised Noah 13, Caitlyn 11, Caleb 11, and Isaac, 7, by herself after Mr Keans moved to Queensland.
Ms Green’s brothers tried to step up and be father figures, but Noah in particular was shaken when one of them took his own life last year.
Ms Green is hunting for a child psychologist to speak with the children and find out the best way forward.
Mark Keans – who has terminal cancer – is pictured with his children (L-R) Noah 13, Caitlyn 11, Caleb 11, and Isaac, 7. His family have been quoted $16,000 in quarantine fees to travel to Queensland to say goodbye to him
Mark Keans, 39, from Brisbane, is not expected to live past Christmas
‘I’m worried about them seeing their dad for the first time in all these years and them him dying, what that will do to them mentally and emotionally,’ she said.
‘Not only do they have to go see a man they don’t know, but he’s dying – they’ve never seen someone dying before.
‘They already grieved for him once when he left and they’ll have to grieve for him all over again.’
Ms Green said she would take her children to see their father if a psychologist confirmed it would be safe for them.
She said it was a ‘very big thing for their little minds to take in’ and she was encouraging them to see their father.
‘I’ve tried to explain to them what happens if Mark dies and they don’t ever get to say goodbye to him, that they might regret it when they grow up, you’ll never have another chance to talk to him,’ she said.
‘They’re so confused and they’re under so much pressure in the spotlight. They’re crying and don’t know what to do.
‘They ask “do we have to go now, we’re going to feel bad if we don’t go”. My daughter is saying “mummy I don’t want to go, I don’t want to go, I’m scared”.
Daily Mail Australia understands that a $1,000 donation from a ‘Scott Morrison’ is the prime minister himself
Ms Green said she first knew of Mr Keans’ terminal brain cancer when his parents called her on July 25, telling her his last wish was to see his kids.
She said after all this time she wanted to talk with her children to see how they would feel about seeing him as he underwent chemotherapy in Brisbane.
As all this was being explained to the kids and the visit was being organised, the Queensland border was abruptly closed from August 8.
Ms Green said the next communication she had with Mr Keans’ parents was last Wednesday when they said they were waiting on the application.
Hours later, she suddenly saw her children’s faces splashed across the news – a photo from the ‘last good day’ they had as a family.
‘The kids were shocked, they had friends and teachers asking them questions at school the next day,’ she said.
‘They never told me they were going to do that, nothing.’
Mr Keans’ father Bruce Langborne said the children’s final goodbyes will be marred by strict coronavirus protocols.
The kids will be forced to wear PPE and won’t be able to hug or even touch their father.
‘He’s just going to see these masked-up little people. He’s not really going to be able to interact with them and they can’t interact with him and that’s not really what he wants,’ he said.
All of Mr Keans’ children are under the age of 13