A memorial bench was unveiled Saturday, 22 June, at Health City Cayman Islands in honour of baby Nolan Evans, who passed away from a complex Congenital Heart Defect (CHD) at just seven months old in January last year. The date of the unveiling of the Nolan Evans Memorial Bench would have marked his second birthday.
The bench was conceived and designed by Nolan’s parents, Ailian and Sean Evans, as a visual reminder of the importance of raising awareness for CHD. The death of their son galvanised them to become both advocates for awareness of CHD and fundraisers to support the charity Hart for Harts, the paediatric arm of the Cayman Heart Fund. Over the last 16 months since Nolan passed away, the couple, who refer to themselves as “Team Nolan”, has raised more than $30,000.
They organise two yearly fundraising and awareness events in their son’s memory – the Heart Warriors and Angels Beach Walk held in February as part of CHD Awareness Week, and Kidfest, which is set for Saturday, 29 June at Pedro St James.
At the event, Nolan’s parents offered “their eternal gratitude” to family, friends, the community, their sponsors and volunteers for their “outpouring of support”.
Governor Martyn Roper was among those who attended the ceremony for the unveiling of the bench, which has pride of place in the main lobby of the hospital. In a post on his Facebook page after the event, Roper said, “It was a privilege to attend the unveiling of the Nolan Evans Memorial Bench, an emotional and inspiring event at Health City…Nolan’s incredibly brave parents, Ailian and Sean, are doing amazing work to raise awareness of CHD, which can affect one in every 100 babies.” He added he was “very pleased to support them”.
Health City senior paediatric cardiologist Dr Sripadh Upadhya, who originally diagnosed Nolan, spoke at the ceremony, which was also attended by St Ignatius Catholic School classmates of Nolan’s sister, Ashlyn – Ty Goddard, Kai Hulse and Simone Baker-Palmer.
“The students from Ashlyn’s school are her friends that we invited to lift the veil from the bench upon my instruction,” Ailian Evans told CNS. “We thought this was a great way to have our daughter and her friends involved in this important and educational occasion.”
Ailian Evans also spoke of the significance of the ceremony. “For us, Team Nolan, having this wonderful memento installed at Health City’s main lobby as a visual instrument to raising CHD awareness to all who view it and as a tribute to our heart hero, Nolan, means the world to my husband, our daughter Ashlyn and I. We know that our son would be very proud of his parents and sister looking down from above.”