Coach still believes in power of prayer despite teen's deathThursday, August 05, 2021
BY KIMBERLEY PEDDIE
SAVANNA-LA-MAR, Westmoreland — Coach of Manning's School's under-16 football team Garey Spence was among those who prayed that 17-year-old Kavian Richards would beat COVID-19, recover from a neck injury and walk again. Though his prayers went unanswered and the teenager died, Spence's belief in the power of prayer is unshaken.
“The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh. In our going in and coming out there's always, always something that can go wrong, nuh care what you do, but life goes on,” he mused yesterday. Richard's mother Shaneille Wallace took to social media last week in a desperate appeal for help for her son. Unlike many such online pleas, her call was not for financial support, but prayers.
“I'm just asking for prayer from all walks of life,” she urged in her heartbreaking appeal. “You don't have to know him to pray for him.” Richards broke his neck after a fall at the river. He successfully underwent surgery and was apparently on the mend when he contracted COVID-19, then he developed pneumonia.
Coach Spence was among those who thought the youngster would pull through. His optimism was based on assurances, last week, from Richard's grandfather that the teenager had awakened from a coma and was once again talking.
“Him a guh come on man, him a guh come on,” was the coach's reaction to the news. Then word came on Sunday that Richards had died.
“It's very emotional for me, it hurts a lot,” said Spence. The “brilliant” teenager, he said, had been a kind, fun, determined, hard-working, and disciplined young man. Richards was on the under-14 team in 2018, the under-16 team in 2019 and would have been a part of the upcoming Dacosta Cup camp. He was a recent graduate of Manning's School.
“He is missed all around,” shared Spence. But, he stressed, young Richards would not want the team crying so they will do their best to remain strong.