Shopping centre boss described as ‘legend’ by brave boy’s mother

Neil Griffin with Keano Klein
Neil Griffin with Keano Klein

The mum of a terminally ill youngster from Kettering has praised the selflessness of a shopping centre manager who has stepped in to help her family.

Neil Griffin, manager of the Newlands Centre in Kettering, first met Keano Klein when he arranged for the seven-year-old to meet his cartoon hero, Ben 10, last year.

Mr Griffin was so touched by Keano’s plight that he enlisted his own family in helping out the youngster, his mum Chantelle Moore and Keano’s two-year-old sister Tianna.

Apart from arranging the private Ben 10 visit he has helped the family move house, helped paint the family’s new home in Northumberland Road, got him a new Xbox and games and shown him around the Newlands Centre control room.

Keano suffers from Kostmann’s Syndrome, which means he lacks white blood cells meaning minor illnesses for most people could be very serious for Keano.

The majority of sufferers die before they are three years old.

Keano’s mum Chantelle said: “I’m so grateful to Neil and his family.

“They have been such a big help to us and I’ll always remember their kindness and friendship.”

Mr Griffin said he was so touched when he first met Keano that he felt compelled to help.

He added: “Keano’s a really nice lad and even though he has been through such a lot he never complains.

“When I told my family about him they all wanted to help Keano and his mum and sister wherever we could.”

Keano is about to have a major operation, the tenth of his life, and his grandmother is travelling from Zimbabwe to help out while he recovers.

The youngster, who loves Ben 10 and Toy Story, needs daily medicine and injections and cannot leave the house without a breathing mask.

His only chance is to get a bone marrow donation, but because Keano’s heritage is a mixture of black, white and Indian a match has been difficult to find. His mother moved to the UK from Zimbabwe because of the lack of treatment for Keano’s condition in her home country.

To make a donation to the African-Caribbean Leukaemia Trust visit

Chantelle’s letter to Neil Griffin

I write this letter, as a Letter of “Thank’s” to one Special Gentleman..... MR NEIL GRIFFEN,his Family and Friend’s. With regards to my Terminally ill Son Keano Klein (7yrs), we are very grateful for all your kind assistance he has given over the past few Months.

Mainly with help in our recent move. We could not have gotten through the same amount of work if it weren’t for your all your kind help. For all the kind People involved at the Newlands Centre not to mention your kind Family in helping us move into our New place. The help of moving all our furniture, improving the place by having help at painting. The moving of my Son’s Wendy house and rebuilding it, all work done to improve our new home,making my Son and my family feel welcome in your office,giving him a brand New Xbox along with game’s, Letting him have a Private meeting with Ben 10 (Humangasaur), Letting my Son play in the Control room,going the extra mile in showing him just how very special he is.

“A very big THANK YOU to you and your team for the wonderful support you gave to me and my family.Your Kindness and Friendship will always be remembered.

To all the business relationships, casual friends, and acquaintances who have gone the extra mile for us l am so very grateful. Things like that never go unnoticed. We all appreciate your help, dedication and service, and know others do too.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your commitment, You are not only a valued member of The Center, but a friend we appreciate. You are the heart and Soul of the Company

l have never met someone so Jolly, helpful,enthusiastic,and kind as yourself who take’s such pride in helping others. The Difference you make is nothing short of a Legendary. The help and advice and guidance you give is always appreciated too.