Son’s death ‘par­ent’s worst night­mare’

The Hamilton Spectator - - LOCAL - TIM WHITNELL

Dalton Beamish loved base­ball and he was look­ing for­ward to at­tend­ing Mo­hawk Col­lege this fall.

Trag­i­cally, there will be no more over­pow­er­ing fast­balls and sneaky curve­balls from the lanky right-handed pitcher, and no chance at higher learn­ing for the 19year-old.

The af­fa­ble Burling­ton teen’s life was cut short Fri­day, July 28. He was driv­ing his sis­ter, Court­ney, 15, and her best friend back to Burling­ton from a house in Flam­bor­ough late in the evening when their ve­hi­cle col­lided head-on with an­other ve­hi­cle on Hwy. 6 at Con­ces­sion Road 6 West.

The girls suf­fered bro­ken bones in the crash, while the other driver, a woman, suf­fered only mi­nor in­juries.

Dalton was pro­nounced dead shortly af­ter the ac­ci­dent.

De­spite dy­ing at such a young age, Dalton has left a no­table legacy, say his par­ents, Kirsten and Joe. They hon­oured their son’s de­sire to be an or­gan donor. He had the rare AB neg­a­tive blood type.

Dalton was known for his love of movies and TV shows about su­per­heroes, and his par­ents say he has now be­come one. His heart was do­nated to one per­son, his liver to an­other and both his kid­neys to two dif­fer­ent peo­ple, all of them On­tario res­i­dents.

“All we can think of is how ex­cited they must have been to get that call,” Kirsten said about the hope­ful donor re­cip­i­ents and their fam­i­lies get­ting news that a life­sav­ing or­gan was on its way to them.

Kirsten, who just turned 47 Sat­ur­day, and hadn’t signed an or­gan donor card, said: “This has cer­tainly changed my mind about be­ing an or­gan donor.”

As she talks about her son, Court­ney and Cole, her twin brother, join her in the fam­ily’s liv­ing room. But they say lit­tle.

Court­ney’s mouth is wired shut from a bro­ken jaw sus­tained in the ac­ci­dent. She also has a pur­ple-coloured cast on her left forearm, shield­ing a bro­ken bone in her wrist. She ap­pears in con­sid­er­able pain, phys­i­cal and emo­tional.

Her 15-year-old friend in the car that night has more se­ri­ous in­juries.

A grad­u­ate of Pauline John­son Ele­men­tary School and later Nel­son High School, in 2016, Dalton was plan­ning to study in the Pro­tec­tion, Se­cu­rity and In­ves­ti­ga­tion pro­gram at Mo­hawk Col­lege and stay on cam­pus with a close child­hood friend.

“He was such a good boy, very help­ful. I never had to worry about him. He was a very shy kid. When he went into base­ball that went away. As he got older, that con­fi­dence over­flowed. Tech­ni­cally, he was a man, but he was my baby,” said Kirsten.

“He was a very re­spect­ful, smart young man. He was very pro­tec­tive of his sib­lings. His friends called him ‘Grandpa,’” be­cause of his gen­tle, car­ing way, said Joe.

“This is a par­ent’s worst night­mare . ... Our phone has been ring­ing off the hook” with words of com­fort from shocked rel­a­tives and friends, said Kirsten.

All three Beamish chil­dren worked at the McDon­ald’s at Ap­pleby Line and Fairview Street. Work­ers at the restau­rant are wear­ing cus­tom-made Toronto Blue Jays hats — Dalton was a big fan of the team, pitched for Nel­son H.S., in house league and also for se­lect teams. The caps have his nick­name ‘Beam’ and his usual uni­form num­ber ‘9’ on the side.

Heartache has hit the Beamishes in re­cent years. Joe, a Pa­lermo boy, lost his mother in 2013. Kirsten, a Mon­treal na­tive who grew up in east Oakville, lost one of her sis­ters to can­cer in 2016.

A GoFundMe page set up by a group of Dalton’s friends, for the ben­e­fit of his fam­ily, had gar­nered an as­tound­ing $42,420 in donor pledges from 439 peo­ple in just three days as of late last Fri­day.

“We were ex­pect­ing maybe $5,000$10,000,” said Kirsten.

She and Joe ad­mit­ted they didn’t know what a GoFundMe site even was un­til one of Dalton’s friends, Alex Burns, asked them if he could start one on their be­half.

Know­ing how ex­pen­sive fu­ner­als are, hav­ing now ar­ranged for Dalton’s the day be­fore speak­ing, the Beamishes say the do­nated money will come in handy for things needed while they both take time off work.

Joe has worked at Oakville Bend­ing and Stamp­ing for about 10 years; Kirsten has been with Front­line Car­rier Sys­tems in Oakville for about 20 years. Both em­ploy­ers have been sup­port­ive, they say.

“Now we can give him a lit­tle ex­tra,” Joe said about the Aug. 12 fu­neral for his son. “Court­ney has some re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion that might not be cov­ered and we need a newer car,” he added.

The Beamishes are meet­ing with of­fi­cers from the Burling­ton OPP de­tach­ment. They hope to fi­nally learn what might have caused the crash. Joe said they’ve talked to po­lice and hos­pi­tal staff and were told tox­i­col­ogy tests in­di­cated Dalton did not have any al­co­hol or drugs in his sys­tem at the time of the ac­ci­dent.

Although their son was rel­a­tively young, Joe said they had faith in Dalton’s driv­ing abil­ity.

“We weren’t go­ing to let her (Court­ney) go (to Flam­bor­ough),” but they re­lented know­ing that Dalton was go­ing to pick her up. “I haven’t been able to go up there yet,” Joe said of vis­it­ing the crash site.

“We’re not look­ing to point any fin­gers or (seek) jus­tice,” said Joe.

They only want to know what hap­pened.

GRA­HAM PAINE, METROLAND

Kirsten and Joe Beamish with a photo of their son, Dalton. Joe holds a Blue Jays cap with the word ‘Beam,’ Dalton’s nick­name, and base­ball uni­form num­ber 9 on the side.

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