Kayla Beukes was born and raised in Gauteng, South Africa. She has always loved to draw and specifically enjoys drawing portraits.

Kayla specialises in pencil and charcoal but enjoys painting every now and then too. She has her own studio in Pretoria, where she makes art, of any kind, every day.

‘It was an absolute honour to sketch this very special portrait and I hope that it can bring even just a little bit of joy to the family.’

Megan Firster

My son Leo is 4 years old. He is the youngest of my 3 children by nearly 12 years and was the missing puzzle piece his siblings and I needed in our lives.

He has severe disabilities caused by an epileptic encephalopathy that may or may not be caused by a mutation in his SCN1A gene. What he lacks in words and mobility he makes up for with personality plus. He can be the calm presence in a room as he is very laid back, or he can be squealing with delight in a busier space as he loves to be a part of the conversation and the action. He loves all things chocolate, loud music with good bass tones, and laying on his mat in our loungeroom listening to the telly and playing with his switch toys. He really enjoys being at school and his beautiful teacher actually snapped this photo of him and it is one of my all time favourites. 

The reason I would really like a portrait is that we were recently in PICU and discovered during a fairly routine bronchoscopy that his airway is becoming very floppy and is at risk of collapse and there’s little to be done about it but wait and see. We don’t know how long we will have with our special boy but we are making the most of each and every day with him.

We are currently staying in Hummingbird House, the children’s hospice in Queensland, and we are unsure at this point if we will go home or if this will be the final stop on his journey. As you can imagine a portrait of him would be cherished greatly.

Sadly Leo has passed away.

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