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Strangers' incredible act for Sydney kids barred from seeing dying dad

More than $200,000 has been raised for a family who were initially told only one of of four Sydney children would be allowed into Queensland to see their dying father due to coronavirus restrictions.

On Thursday, Mark Keans’s family made national headlines after their story emerged.

But just hours later after the Queensland government faced criticism, all four of Mr Keans’s children were granted permission to go visit their father, but the cost will be $16,000, according to Seven News.

The agreement for the four children to get an exemption to cross the NSW-Queensland border was expected to be finalised on Friday and Queensland Health authorities had been working with Mr Keans’s family, AAP reported.

Pictured is Mark Keans, the 39-year-old father with terminal cancer and his four children. His family was initially told by Queensland authorities only one of his children, from Sydney, would be allowed to visit him in hospital.
Mark Keans, the dying father in Brisbane will be able to see his four children one last time, as the Queensland Government finalises an exemption and the public raised money for the quarantine expenses. Source: GoFundMe

The $16,000 would cover the family’s quarantine as they would be arriving from Sydney. NSW, the ACT and Victoria are deemed a coronavirus ‘hotspot’ by Queensland.

A relative told Sky News the family had been offered a deal which included entry to Queensland and a police escort to the hospital for supervised visits with Mr Keans, while wearing protective equipment.

Multiple members of Mr Keans’s family made exemption applications for a visit that were under consideration by Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young, according to AAP.

Hours after a GoFundMe was set up to help raise money for the family to pay for the quarantine, over 100 Australians have raised more than $225,000 at the time of publication, surpassing the $30,000 goal.

A GoFundMe spokesperson confirmed to Yahoo News Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison has donated $1000 to the cause.

The GoFundMe states the money raised will also be put towards travel costs, care, treatment and funeral expenses.

Speaking to the Today Show on Friday, Mr Keans’s sister, Tamara Langborne, said the family was so thankful for “everybody and everything”.

A photo of Mark Keans and his four children. All his children have now been granted an exemption to see their dying father in Queensland.
The GoFundMe set up to support Mr Keans's family has raised more than $210,000, so the family won't have to pay for mandatory quarantine. Source: GoFundMe

Ms Langborne said her brother was “quite overwhelmed” given what has happened in the past few days, but he was now a slightly more positive.

“He is seeming a bit more positive, but, I mean, his health is not going the best,” Ms Langborne said.

“It is hard because we are seeing that over the final week, we are hearing it in his voice but we can't be there to support him and I think that he is struggling with that, especially my family is struggling with that as well.”

Mr Keans was diagnosed with late-stage cancer in July this year and the GoFundMe says it is unlikely he will make it past Christmas this year.

In addition to asking for money, the GoFundMe also asks people to “please speak up and express your upset at the cruel actions of the QLD government and QLD health authorities”.

In a previous statement to Yahoo News Australia, Queensland Health said the department sympathised with Mr Keans’s situation.

“We understand and sympathise that this is a very difficult time and there are challenges,” the spokesperson said.

“We are in the midst of a global pandemic and we need to protect our communities, especially the most vulnerable members of the community.”

The heartbreaking story of a dying father wanting to see his four children one last times comes amid a heated border row.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he has personally raised with about 40 cases with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk during the pandemic, including seeking visitation rights.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has come under fire over the border situation, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison saying he has had to raise multiple cases with her. Source: AAP
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has come under fire over the border situation, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison saying he has had to raise multiple cases with her. Source: AAP

Also on Thursday, a 26-year-old woman from Canberra made headlines after she wrote a scathing letter to Ms Palaszczuk after she applied for an exemption to visit her dying father but wasn't approved until Friday, two days after his death.

Despite a personal plea from Mr Morrison, Sarah Caisip was still not allowed to leave quarantine to go to her father's funeral on Thursday, instead making her final farewell at a private viewing after the service.

Ms Palaszczuk accused Mr Morrison of trying to bully her over the state's strict border restrictions when he rang her on Thursday morning on behalf of Ms Caisip.

"I would hope that the prime minister would work in a cooperative manner with everyone across this country, and this divisiveness, and these fights, and this intimidation, and this bullying is the worst I've ever seen in my lifetime,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

– with AAP

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