‘Ecstatically relieved’: Parents given permission to visit dying son in Queensland

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The mother of a terminally ill man says his family members have received an exemption to visit him in Queensland to say their goodbyes.

Mark Kean’s parents, siblings and four children are based in various parts of New South Wales.

They have been unable to visit the Brisbane-based cancer patient due to the Queensland Government’s tight pandemic border restrictions.

The 39-year-old’s parents and one of his sisters live in Port Macquarie, on the NSW Mid North Coast, and his mother Rhonda Langborne says they have received verbal approval from Queensland Health that they will be allowed to travel.

“I feel ecstatically relieved,” Ms Langborne said.

“They have rung us to say we have got that exemption and we will get an email today to state that we have it.

“We have now approved a border pass for his parents, his siblings, his four children and their mother to go up next Saturday, September 19, and to return on the 24th.”

Mr Kean’s other siblings live in Eden, Wagga Wagga and Tumut, while his four children live in Sydney with their mother.

“[Mr Kean’s father] Bruce and myself and his siblings will be going,” Ms Langborne said.

“The children’s mother has now declined and the children cannot come with us.

A man in early middle age sits in a light-filled room.
Mr Kean’s mother says she received a call from Queensland Health confirming that the family will be allowed to visit him in hospital.(Supplied: Bruce Langborne)

Strict conditions

Ms Langborne said the visit would be strictly regulated.

“We will be quarantined, we will be escorted from the hotel to have visitations with Mark in full [Personal Protective Equipment] gear, and a marshal will be there to facilitate the visitation,” she said.

Ms Langborne said the family would be relieved to see Mr Kean, but the pandemic circumstances would be challenging.

“We will be visiting him from a distance — we actually won’t be able to touch him or anything like that,” she said.

“I cannot imagine just sitting there looking at him in full PPE and not able to touch him.”

A spokesperson for Queensland Health said they could not comment on applications for individual exemptions.

A sign at the Coolangatta border reads "Road Closed ahead, police control ahead"
Road closures and border checkpoints between Tweed Heads and the Gold Coast have meant lengthy delays for motorists in recent months(ABC News: Gemma Sapwell)

‘Bewildered at the generosity’

A friend of Mr Kean’s sister, Tamara Langborne, started an online fundraiser for the family late last week in a bid to raise $30,000 to cover hotel quarantine, transport, and other costs.

In less than 24 hours $200,000 was raised.

“I went to bed one night and woke up the next morning and that was there,” Rhonda Langborne said.

“I must say, at no time did we ever ask for money.

“We are still bewildered at the generosity of Australians.”

Tamara Langborne previously said the money raised would also go towards funding Mr Kean’s children’s future education.

She also said the family wanted to share the money with others experiencing similar hardships brought on by COVID-19.

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