Families turn out to support Evans family at KidFest

Friends Zoe Levy, 6, and Monroe Barton, 5, have fun at KidFest on Saturday.

The community turned out en masse Saturday at Pedro St. James for KidFest, an event held in honor of the memory of baby Nolan Evans. Young Nolan passed away in January after a seven-month battle with congenital heart defects, and his parents are hoping to allay the pain for future Cayman families.

Sean and Ailian Evans have taken their tragedy and turned it into a platform for philanthropy. More than 200 children and 200 parents showed up at Pedro St. James on Saturday, and Mrs. Evans said on Sunday that they had raised more than $15,000 for Hart for Hearts and the Cayman Heart Fund.

“It’s wonderful. People have been very generous and we are thankful for the great support,” said Mrs. Evans of the community’s response to Nolan’s legacy. “Our mission is to raise awareness about Congenital Heart Defects in the Cayman Islands as well as raise funds for families with CHD babies who are in need; hence why we are donating the funds to Hart for Hearts and the Cayman Heart Fund.”

Nolan would have celebrated his first birthday on June 21, and KidFest brought together local families in one of Cayman’s most beautiful locations. There was a bouncy castle, face-painting, arts and crafts, and animal petting lined up as activities, and families could get a professional portrait taken.

For Mrs. Evans, the entire day was sad with the memory of Nolan but also hopeful for the future.

After a cup-stacking competition at KidFest, Henry Conner, 5, suffers the agony of defeat as Sadonya Cranston, 6, celebrates the glory of victory. – Photos: Kayla Young

“It’s heartbreaking, but at the same time, it’s rewarding,” she said. “This is the way I wanted to carry his legacy and honor his name. I know he can’t be here, unfortunately, due to his heart condition. His heart was incompatible. He went through seven heart procedures and I was by his bedside until his last breath. I didn’t know about his heart problem in the womb; it was diagnosed after he was born.”

The Center for Disease Control in the United States says that congenital heart defects affect nearly 1 percent – or about 40,000 – of the births that take place in the U.S. on an annual basis. A little more than four percent of all neonatal deaths are due to a congenital heart defect, according to the CDC.

Mrs. Evans said the family is already looking forward to hosting KidFest again in 2019.

The family raised $9,000 through the many generous sponsors of KidFest, and another $6,000 was raised through Saturday’s activities. Pedro St. James was the perfect location for the family fun day, said Mrs. Evans, because it gave the kids plenty of room to run around and have a good time.

“I like it because it’s the perfect venue for kids to be free to enjoy and have a great time,” she said. “It’s beautiful and has a beautiful view. I just wanted a beautiful venue to host Nolan’s birthday.”

1 COMMENT

  1. Children should not be participating in fundraisers of any kind. Children should remain children. There is no need to condition their fragile minds with tragedies and ills of the world that could leave psychological scars and develop fears. They are too young to have normal reactions to abnormal situations. Their coping mechanism is not developed yet.

    If someone thinks that they need to be taught a valuable lesson or to be aware of something, just ask yourself, why? They have not done anything wrong, they didn’t create word’s problems and tragedies. Then why should they be solving it? Let them grow up first.
    Don’t put grownup’s problems on children’s shoulders. Protect their psyche.

  2. Ms Bell , that’s a very interesting topic, when should children start learning about everything ? In today’s world kids has everything at their fingertips / Internet , so why shouldn’t we teaching them from young age about things that are important to their age . I think that the more a kid learns the better of the kid would be when it grow up , so when you take the child’s young learning opportunities away , you have deprived the kid of alot of opportunity for knowledge and education.

    • Too much information-is it good or bad for a child’s mind? Did you grow up being bombarded by heartbreaking news 24x 7? Have you thought that today’s children are having panic attacks and anxieties as never before? 7,213,599 kids (in the USA only) on psychiatric drugs (cchrint.org).

      Take marine pollutions as an example. When a 3-10 yo child sees heartbreaking images of animals harmed by plastic trash, what does it do to his/her mind? Why do they have to be traumatized at such tender age? An image of dead kittens killed by my neighbor when I was 7-8 yo still haunts my mind.

      You might say, nothing is wrong with CHD awareness event. My heart goes out to Evans family. But why little children need to know about it? Where do you think health anxiety comes from? Should not they be playing in a park or beach instead?

      And whose fault is that “In today’s world kids has everything at their fingertips”? Certainly not children’s. Following your logic, they should feel guilty and learn some lessons. The lessons parents never managed to learn themselves.

      Teach them practical skills, but leave their mind alone. Let them be children, because it is not going to last long. Children have right to remain children. Protecting childhood should be a priority.

  3. Ms Bell I agree with you about children should be children however before talking about Kidfest you need to know a little bit more about why my husband and I did it . We organized this event to celebrate our little heart warrior Nolan who was born with a complex congenital heart defect. Nolan endured more than 7 surgeries at only 7 months of age and with barely 8 pounds, ultimately he passed away with me his mom at his betside. We decided to honor him in especial way . Kidfest was all about celebrating and all kids and families that attended were happy with the complementary pizza, popcorn, caramel corn, snow cone, bouncy castles, animal petting , dance competition with prizes , Disco time, life entertainment and the list go on … The event was a success and we will hosted again in 2019 god willing !!!
    Have a nice day,

    Ailian Evans proud mom of baby Nolan Rory Evans

    • Thank you.

      The article focuses on the CHD awareness and misses on the “fun” part you describe in your comment.

      According to children’s psychologists, shielding little children from any exposure to tragic events should always be the best policy. Children can be unpredictable about how they may respond to information, and even events far away can trigger a stress response. Given the potential short- and long-term consequences of coping with a trauma, parents should consider the proximity of the event and whether the child truly must know about specific current events.

      As it turned out the event was more about celebration than tragedy.

      Sorry for your loss and apologies if I inadvertently offended you somehow.