The Story of Shawn: A Boy Fights Joyfully for His Life
As we enter a holiday weekend and for many a time in which we’ll use to spend with family and friends…I wanted to share this story of Shawn, a young boy who’s fighting for his life.
Dear Lord, I pray your healing on Shawn and courage for his family to handle the day to day challenges they face. May we all be thankful for what we have…and in prayer giving thanks for your love and protections.
Shawn, during tough times or during trials that I face…I find comfort in Psalm 57:1: “Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.”
Life in this fallen world can be joyful and heartbreaking, messy and miraculous. And of course life and death are part of the journey. Everyone not in either infancy or dementia understands the fact that death is inevitable.
However, understanding the surety of death does not mean we welcome it one minute sooner than we absolutely have to. We’re created for life and yearn for life. And every now and then we hear a story that makes us count our blessings and, yes, even feel ashamed of our moments of self-pity.
Enter the story of Shawn, the youngest of five children, son of Dale and Kim Benson.
Shawn was a healthy fifth grade boy, only a couple months shy of his eleventh birthday, when some troubling symptoms manifested: he began having headaches, fatigue, and then vomiting in the mornings. His parents knew something was amiss, but thought perhaps an intestinal ailment rather than some nefarious illness.
His mom, Kim, took him the doctor, who recommended a CT scan of Shawn’s head. Kim and her husband, Dale, were puzzled. Why a scan of his head when it appeared his problem was in the digestive system?
But they followed orders and Kim took him St. Luke’s Hospital for the CT scan on a Sunday. The scan revealed a tumor in the brain, the severity of which was made clear when they immediately transferred Shawn via ambulance to Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston.
Mom Kim rode with Shawn to TCH, watching as the medical team worked at an alarming pace. Shawn underwent an MRI 2AM. Kim was texting Dale and the family with the play-by-play.
I can’t imagine how Kim felt watching her youngest son undergo these tests confirming the worst fears any parent could ever have. And Dale? He was manning the homefront with the other kids, most likely feeling helpless to do much but wait.
Talking to Dale, he thinks the world of Kim and laughingly says, “She’s a tough broad.” Though not a native Texan, Kim seems imbued with that strong, Lone Star steel resolve, and she would need that strength for the journey her son was about to embark upon.
After the 2AM MRI, Shawn was kept at Texas Children’s Hospital and prepped for surgery on Tuesday. Kim, Dale and the kids waited while Shawn underwent a nine hour surgery.
The tumor, a medulloblastoma, which was about the size of a peach, was located in the cerebellum…