April 23, 2014 -- A New York dad who thought he had only two months to live recorded heartfelt video messages to be sent to his kids long after he’s gone.
Entrepreneur Jon Loew, who lives with his family on Long Island, suffered a violent reaction to an antibiotic in 2010, baffling doctors and causing permanent damage to his central nervous system.
“I was told, 'We can’t explain why this is happening, but you’re deteriorating very quickly,'” Loew told ABCNews.com. “It affected every part of my body and brain.”
The 43-year-old’s first thought was of what would happen to his son and daughter if he died.
“I was sitting there saying, 'I’m going to be dead in two months and my kids are 8 and 6,'” Loew said. “'Who’s going to guide them? What questions will they have when they’re older?'”
So Loew, an attorney, began recording videos he wanted his kids to see in the future -- answering questions he thought they might one day have about life, work, marriage and parenting.
“Of course, I was concerned about missing my daughter’s wedding and my kids’ high school graduations,” he said. “But most of my concern was about what they would miss -- who would be there when they’re down in the dumps.”
Luckily, Loew survived. Doctors at the Cleveland Clinic finally linked his symptoms to the antibiotic and prescribed medication and physical therapy to revitalize him, he said.
But Loew continued to make the videos for his wife and two children, Sammy and Coby, and launched KeepTree, which allows other people to make videos they want to send to someone later in life.
The company has patents pending for technology that allows users' videos to be sent automatically after they die or after a natural disaster.
“It started as a sad idea, but people have come up with the craziest uses for it,” said Loew, who has filmed more than 100 videos for his family.
He cited users who want to get the last word in with an enemy after they’re dead or employees who record themselves doing something their boss wouldn’t approve at work, with plans not to reveal the act until they've quit.
Videos can be sent to a recipient’s email at any time -- whether it’s 10 days in the future or 10 years. Until then, KeepTree stores them so they remain private.
His kids have gotten in on the fun, too.
“My son recorded a video saying, ‘Hello me, it’s me. Remember, always hate Sammy,’” Loew said. “He’s reminding himself to hate his sister in 30 years.”
Loew called his collection of videos a “family archive.”
“I’m fascinated by communication through generations,” he said. “When you look at your photo albums, do you really know what your great-grandparents were like? Imagine if you could hear their voices. I’m guessing that there is someone who looked like you and acted like you 100 years ago. Wouldn’t it be cool to see that?”
KeepTree is free for users who want to send videos within a year. Users who want KeepTree to store their clips for longer than a year pay $2 a month. The company has about 25,000 users.