Australians give $200,000 in one night so kids can see dying dad

Mark Keans GoFundMe: $200,000 raised for family in one night

The sister of Mark Keans, a dying dad blocked from seeing his four kids by Queensland’s border ban, is terrified he won’t make it.

The Australian public raised more than $200,000 in a matter of hours on Thursday night for a family whose four children are desperate to see their dying father.
Mark Keans, 39, has terminal cancer and is currently at his home in Brisbane. His last wish is to see his kids, who live in New South Wales.
The family made headlines on Thursday after the Queensland government refused its repeated pleas for a border exemption, sparking outrage across the country.
Mr Keans was told he would have to choose just one of the four children to see him.
But Australians continue to push for the family, flooding Mr Keans with offers to fly him down to New South Wales with a nurse and doctor to reunite with his family.
“It is something that we never believed we could achieve, so it is the biggest shock and we are honestly so thankful for everybody and everything,” Mr Keans’ sister Tamara Langborne told Today.
The family is still considering a number of options to help Mr Keans see his family, after doctors suggested he may be too sick to fly.
“There is another option for a day trip to Tweed Heads to reunite with the family,” Ms Langborne said.
The state government relented last night and said it would allow all four kids to drive across the border - but they would have to spend two weeks in hotel quarantine and pay a whopping $16,000 in fees.
After that fortnight in quarantine, the children would be dressed in full PPE before being taken to see their father.

Mark Keans, 39, pictured with his kids.
Mark Keans, 39, pictured with his kids.Source:Supplied

Ms Langborne said her brother’s health was rapidly deteriorating and she wasn’t sure if he would last two weeks.
“We do only have a small window,” she said.
“At the moment it is the 19th to the 23rd of (September). With not knowing exactly whether he has two weeks or a month or a month-and-a- half left, I think we are really fighting for time because if we do wait until his next window, will he be there?”
Mr Keans’ father Bruce Langborne was similarly furious about the two week quarantine.
“My wife turned around and says, ‘So what, you’re expecting us to pay more money to visit him than what it’s going to cost to bury him?’” the children’s grandfather Mr Langborne told Seven News.
Speaking on Sunrise this morning, Mr Langborne said the family were frustrating at the changing rules.
“The worst part is, they have told us we will get tested for COVID-19 before we leave NSW and have our results before we get to the border. And they said, there is no problem, we will do that after you have been here for a couple of days. But you need the PPE, because you might give him other bugs that will affect his chemotherapy, if you get sick,” Mr Langborne said.
“He has a brother that lives in Brisbane, he can visit him at any time and doesn't have to have the PPE. But we do because we’re coming to NSW, they keep changing the rules on us and making it harder and harder.”
Queensland Health commented on the family’s situation last night.
“We understand and sympathise that this is a very difficult time, and there are challenges,” a spokesperson for Queensland Health said.
“We are in the midst of a global pandemic and we need to protect our communities, especially the most vulnerable members.
“We understand the health directions in place are strict, but they are designed to protect Queenslanders.”
Following the quarantine direction, a GoFundMe page was set up for the family, with a goal of raising $30,000, was set up in the evening.
Before midnight, having been featured on Sky News, it had blown away that target and passed $200,000 - including a $1000 donation from Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
“Honestly, the last two days have been the biggest shock,” Mr Keans’ sister Tamara Langborne said in an interview with Sky News host Paul Murray.
“We went from being nobodies to being so heard that I don’t know how I feel. It’s astounding.”
Murray asked how her brother was coping with the situation.
“He’s struggling. His major wish when he got diagnosed was that he just wanted his kids. And since the day he was diagnosed, we’d just been fighting and fighting, and we just weren’t getting heard.
“I think that made it a lot worse, because it didn’t look like anything was going to happen. It was the impossible. But we’re starting to get a voice, and it’s reassuring.”

Mark Keans and family. Picture: Nine.
Mark Keans and family. Picture: Nine.Source:Supplied

Mr Keans is not expected to survive beyond Christmas.
He had previously been asked to choose which of his children to see as only one of four will be able to cross the border to Queensland where he is stuck.
Mr Morrison was asked to intervene in the tragic case which sparked outrage over coronavirus border closures in Queensland that have been the subject of pain for many families.
Earlier, Mr Langborne, said the kids “desperately want to see him”.
“They told us we were being selfish – and we weren’t taking into consideration the other cancer patients,” Mr Langborne told 7News.
“I have no idea how you pick and choose which child goes.
“We’re bashing our heads against brick walls.”

Outspoken Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie has become the latest vocal critic of Queensland’s hard border closure.
Speaking to Today this morning, she hit out at Ms Palaszczuk’s decision to deny the family a border exemption.
“I think this is just being cruel now. There is no compassion in this whatsoever,” Senator Lambie said.
“I don‘t know what Palaszczuk is trying to prove…it seems that they let people through their borders to suit them.
“They’re not coming from a hot spot, what is the problem? Look at the faces of those kids for goodness sake, this has gone way too far.”
Mr Langborne said his family had refused to choose which child could go and visit their father.
“We’ve said none,” he said.
“Basically, we could not pick one over any of the others. It’s impossible. Every one of them deserves it... It’s easier to pick the adults, which adults to go and not to go but it wouldn’t be the children.”
Today host Karl Stefanovic added there needed to be a better system in place.
“When you have a family choosing which child should say goodbye to their father, their dad, it’s gone too far. Just too far,” he said.
“Grant the exemption. The Premier is not heartless. She needs to streamline the system while protecting Queenslanders.
“There is a medium. Find it. Let these kids say goodbye and let a dying man say goodbye.”
The four children are in Sydney. Picture: Nine.
The four children are in Sydney. Picture: Nine.Source:Supplied
Ms Palaszczuk recently said she was unable to visit her dying uncle.
“My uncle was recently diagnosed with lung cancer and I couldn’t go and visit him in the hospital,” she said.
The issue was raised by Opposition leader Deb Frecklington in Queensland parliament, who said the family “may have had more luck if they were in the AFL or crew on a superyacht.”
However the Premier was having none of it, saying: “If Queenslanders had listened to the LNP when they asked for the borders to be opened 64 times, we may have been in the situation of Victoria.”
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard also said he felt “supreme anger, at the Queensland Premier’s decision, which in my view is nothing more base loopy politics. I’m appalled.”
It comes as Newcastle man revealed he doesn’t know when he will be able to see his newborn daughter due to harsh restrictions.
Fly-in-fly-out worker Chris Bennett, who is based in Wangi Wangi, welcomed his first child, Adalyn, with his partner Laura Goff seven weeks ago.
After spending six weeks at home, Mr Bennett, 27, had to go back to work in the mines at Moranbah in North Queensland and has spent the last two weeks in quarantine in a Brisbane hotel, where the mandatory cost is $2800.
“Every day I get up and I listen to the TV to see if they’ve given a date yet (to reopen the border) or allowed any extra exemptions,” Ms Goff, 29, told the Newcastle Herald.
“They’ve just let a whole football code go over the border and stay in a hotel, with their wives having cocktails with each other not social distancing at the swim-up bar, and Chris is in quarantine and I’m trying to take photos and videos of our baby smiling for the first time so he is not missing out.
“I feel like there is an easier way than making an Australian pay $2800 for quarantine (to cross a state border).”


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