Family of Nathan O’Brien launches children’s foundation with $1 million donation

CALGARY- A private children’s foundation has been established in honour of five-year-old Nathan O’Brien as the little boy’s parents struggle to recover from his disappearance and presumed murder.

Nathan and his grandparents, Alvin and Kathryn Liknes, vanished from the Liknes home in southwest Calgary at the end of June. Douglas Garland has been charged with their murders although their bodies have never been found.

READ MORE: Timeline: Missing Calgary family

The foundation has already received a $1 million donation from American businessman William Neisler; money in the trust will go to various children’s charities.

Nathan’s parents, Rod and Jennifer O’Brien, who are heading the new foundation, say Neisler was touched by the tragedy and wanted to do something special in Nathan’s memory.

“(Neisler) wanted to make sure Nathan was not forgotten and that his name could go on,” said Rod O’Brien.

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“When we found out it was a $1 million donation to the trust – for us it was overwhelming and unbelievable as well as sitting back and thinking how lucky we are as parents to have this, to do this for our son Nathan and to give back to the less fortunate people in the world.”

“We have received more grace and help than one could possibly ask for,” added O’Brien. “It’s been a gift from God for us; now we have a purpose to go forward with Nathan’s spirit in mind.”

READ MORE: Missing Calgary family: Who were Nathan O’Brien, Alvin and Kathyrn Liknes?

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An image of Nathan O’Brien’s bedroom in his parents’ southwest Calgary home. Global News

Four months after the loss of Nathan, the family said there isn’t a day or hour that goes by without thinking of their son.

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“I miss having him around; he filled us up; he filled Jennifer,” said O’Brien. “I would wake up every day with love, the hugs he would give, holding onto my ear when I hugged him.”

“We just couldn’t wait to get home and see our children; he was everything for us and he still is.”

The O’Briens haven’t given up hope that the bodies of Nathan and his grandparents will be found.

READ MORE: No new leads in search for bodies of Nathan O’Brien and grandparents, police

“I hope we find our family, Nathan and his grandparents. I hope that every day, pray every day for that,” said O’Brien.

That’s my family’s wish. Bring him home and bury him with dignity – that is our daily prayer, to bring him home.

A memorial was held for Nathan O’Brien last month, during which he was remembered as a ‘superhero’, and an active boy who loved life, enjoying every day to the fullest.

Nathan O'Brien and his grandmother Kathy Liknes are shown in a Calgary Police Service handout photo.
Nathan O’Brien and his grandmother Kathy Liknes are shown in a Calgary Police Service handout photo. Calgary Police Service, The Canadian Press/Handout
WATCH: The parents of five-year-old Nathan O’Brien talk to Global News reporter Jill Croteau in their first interview since their son’s presumed death.

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