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Celebration Of Life For Clancy Shea

Clancy_Shea.jpgThe Shea/Schweikert family would like to show their appreciation to the community and invite you to join them on Saturday, Mar. 15 at 2 p.m. at Mountain Christian Center to celebrate Clancy Shea’s life.

Clancy Aiden Shea was born Feb. 26, 2003 and passed with his loving family by his side on Monday, Feb. 24, just two days before his 11th birthday.

In addition to his parents, Casey and Aaron Schweikert, Clancy is survived by his brother Leinidas, 5, his sister Callaghan, 2, grandparents Rory and Kim Shea and Vic and LaDonna Schewikert. Also mourning the loss of their joyful child are his aunts, uncles and cousins, including the McConnell family, Nixon-Yoder Family, and his great-grandmothers, Barbara Argue and Patricia Shea.

Clancy was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 18 months of age, and lived a full and joyous life as an inspiration to all who knew him. Often called “Clan-Man,” he attended Coarsegold Elementary School from the age of three, where he made lifelong friends.

Clancy turned three while on a flight overseas in 2006, accompanied by his mom Casey and grandma Kim Shea. They were bound for Poland, to spend a month at the Euromed Rehabilitation Center in Mielno, founded in 1994 to help patients with cerebral palsy develop their strengths and find ability within the disability.

The family would ultimately fly to Poland on two different occasions for intensive therapies six hours daily, including speech therapy, physical therapy and massage. There, the family learned to how to work to Clancy’s best advantage.

The trips to Poland came about via the suggestion of a physical therapist at Coarsegold School, and subsequently thousands of dollars were raised by community volunteers through donations and fundraising dinners, in order to get the family to Europe and back.

Clancy loved watching sports, including soccer, football and wrestling. “He was all boy,” says Kim Shea of her expressive grandson with the big green eyes. “He was just a normal boy, living in a body that didn’t work for him.”

The kid with the big dimple also loved to wear motorcycle gear and sit on his uncle’s idling bike. Using a walker with assistance, Clancy was able to play kickball with the inclusive group of kids at Coarsegold School.

Kim says her daughter Casey enjoyed running from an early age, and as it turned out, so did Clancy. When Casey saw a father and his adult son, who had cerebral palsy, compete in a triathlon with adaptive sports equipment, it gave her the idea that she and Clancy could do that, as well. They started off in a special run for families with members diagnosed with cerebral palsy, eventually graduating to the Smokey Bear Run at Bass Lake.

The year Casey couldn’t run with Clancy because she was pregnant, a family friend took over to help. Jack Williamson frequently checked in on the family, and when he heard Casey was saving money to purchase a special lightweight wheelchair designed to accommodate Clancy in the race, Jack took over as both designated runner and fundraiser.

Through his men’s group and donations from the community at large, enough money was raised to purchase five adaptive strollers so four other kids could participate in the race along with Clancy. A group of sheriff’s department officers and firefighters took over the strollers for parents who could not run. The tradition continued, with Casey back at the helm, and last year a portion of the race was named for Clancy, who led the way. Clancy was thrilled to be part of a team, and to hear the wild roar of the crowd as they triumphantly crossed the finish line.

“Whether Clancy was in class or anywhere else, people treated him like a pal, and that made his life so full,” continues Kim. “People we didn’t even know have prayed for him since the first day he was hospitalized.”

Clancy was born very healthy, and contracted meningitis at the age of four months, leading to brain damage of the basil ganglia, as a result of the ensuing encephalitis.

“Our focus now, though we are grieving the missing puzzle piece of our family that is Clancy Shea, is on thanking the community who gave so much love and support, including financial support, which carries so much more than the weight of the dollar value. There are no words to express the wonderful feeling of the gifts of love from strangers and friends, alike. From the doctors and nurses, teachers and therapists, to the bankers, pharmacists, church friends and everyone who loved and prayed for Clancy, we are grateful.”

Kim says she knows Clancy is in heaven, running and speaking, finding all the good places to hide for hide and seek, and fishing with his grandpa, who passed away last May.

“We were living and not thinking about dying,” Kim explains of their close and passionate family. “Casey has said all along, ‘God put him in my life for a reason: to restore my relationship with Jesus, and he left this world reviving my relationship with Jesus,'” Kim continues.”Clancy’s journey was full because of the people who touched him and touched us. That kid was laughing and enjoying his life, he was cheerful and joyful and had a grand old time, even in the midst of adversity and struggle.”

On the eve of his passing, members of the Coarsegold School community visited the family’s home to offer strength and sit with Clancy. Clancy died from complications of cerebral palsy and dystonia and had been in hospice care for approximately one week. On his birthday, two days later, students and other friends at the school released balloons into the sky in his honor.

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to the Children’s Hospital Adaptive Sports Program. Click the link and then go to the drop down menu where it says “choose one,” and click on “adaptive sports program” to make a contribution in Clancy’s memory.

Mountain Christian Center is located at 40299 Highway 49 in Oakhurst.

One comment

  1. Thank you Kellie for a wonderful article on my nephew the Clan Man.

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