“Little Brian” passes away from an AIDS-related infection

“Little Brian” passes away from an AIDS-related infection

Written by Alexandra Howard, HHF Director


Brian in 2015


Brian in 2007








It is with much sadness that we share this news with you today.

On January 7th 2016 at 7:45pm Kenyan time, one of HHFL’s  children, Brian Kangethe passed away unexpectedly.

Brian was 16 years old and HIV positive. Yesterday, Mama Hanne and Baba Ted held a beautiful memorial with the HHFL children and staff to celebrate him and his short life at the project. His funeral will take place on Tuesday January 12th 2016.

“Little Brian”, as we called him, was admitted into the Melchizedek hospital in Nairobi on December 27th 2015 after developing a severely high fever. While we believed that he was recovering and plans were being made to bring him home, his vulnerable body decided otherwise and he succumbed to an AIDS-related infection. He died suddenly of heart failure. Brian left us peacefully and surrounded by the love of Mama Hanne, Baba Ted, Lucy, Isaiah and all of his brothers and sisters at the project.

Brian was born with HIV and his parents died of AIDS when he was young. This orphaned boy came into our lives when he was six years old. He was frail and frightened when his grandmother brought him and his brother James to HHFL’s gate in 2006. Through proper medication, good nutrition, education and love over the past 10 years, he has lived a very healthy, optimistic and full life.

We remember little Brian with much affection and admiration. He had a lot of talents and interests – some of which we are still learning more about!  Brian was a resourceful, intelligent, empathetic and sporty child.  He used to spend hours on the computer. Above all, he loved corresponding with his sponsor family in California – Baba Ted’s daughter Katie, her husband Glen and three kids.

But he was also known for his uncanny ability to research just about anything online, either for himself or his friends. His relentless routine of breaking and entering the computer lab “after hours” used to drive our managers Lucy and Isaiah round the curb but perhaps we can now see this as a reflection of his deep thirst and passion for “knowledge”!  During his memorial service yesterday, a hearty laugh was shared as we learned that our cheeky teenager had plans to ‘nominate’ one of his friends for the Russian Armed Forces after being rejected by the Kenyan military 🙂

Brian also loved animals. In a letter written by Katie for his memorial, she and her family remembered a sweet e-mail interaction with Brian during one of his volunteer stints at the animal shelter in Kenya:

“He was so pleased to share with us that he had chosen to work with the dogs. He said he had picked the dogs because he was “feeling sad for the ones that had been abandoned, misused badly, had three legs and had diseases”. He did want us to know however that the ones with disease had been treated and were doing great.”

Katie continues;

“We can’t dwell on the sadness or keep asking “why?”. We will never find a reason why such a smart, cheerful and beautiful child was taken, instead we will focus on how incredibly fortunate we were to have had such a beautiful relationship and how lucky we are to have had him in our lives. We will miss seeing his smiling face in pictures. May he rest in Eternal peace.”

We all feel the same way. We love you Brian and will miss you every day. RIP.

We are gratefully accepting donations to help pay for his unexpected funeral and hospital bill (roughly US$3500). Any donation, big or small, will help.

Any additional donations will go toward establishing a technology education scholarship in his memory. Thank you in advance for your care and kindness. Click to make a contribution in Brian’s memory.



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