Darwyn Danesh (2004 – 2020) was a joyful, humorous, playful, curious, mystery and wonder of a person. He was non-verbal, but for his 16 years made all his wishes, thoughts and emotions undeniably clear. His health and well-being were always complicated – he had Down Syndrome, autism and severe cardiac issues. But he always kept trucking along.
A person of strict routines throughout his life, the pandemic both massively disrupted and narrowed Darwyn’s routine. He lost his school and most of his care supports. Many of his favourite activities were also no longer available, including having a chocolate smoothie at Starbucks or going to a movie. For the four months since March, the only way to maintain some calm for him was to make a new routine, with every day effectively identical.
While Darwyn did not pass away from COVID-19, the experience for the family in his last weeks, days and hours were indelibly shaped by the difficult times humanity is facing as it confronts the pandemic. And that experience speaks to how much we need to come together even more to align our individual choices with collective action that will ease pain, reduce suffering, save lives and help healing.
To learn more about Darwyn and his grandfather who passed only six weeks prior, please see the article written by Darwyn’s father, Dr. Roshan Danesh ‘Dying in pandemic times: My son and my father passed away in a 6-week span’ featured in the July 30, 2020, edition of the Times Colonist.
The Darwyn Danesh Memorial Fund is a donor advised fund created at the Victoria Foundation to provide community, social, and educational supports for children with complex circumstances, with a goal of helping fill gaps in current realities.
You can support the Fund by cash, cheque, credit card, or online through CanadaHelps* (below). For information about giving publicly listed securities, or to donate by credit card without CanadaHelps, please call the Victoria Foundation at 250.381.5532.
* Please note CanadaHelps assesses a 3.5-4 per cent transaction fee on all donations. This amount is deducted before the donation is sent to the Victoria Foundation. This fee covers all credit card merchant fees, transaction fees, banking costs, receipting, reconciliation and disbursement. To avoid this fee, call the Victoria Foundation directly with your credit card information.