It is something we should never have to see, but leaves us in awe just the same.
Tiverton’s Shawny Smith is once again reminding residents of the Fall River area the bravery of the young.
Despite Shawny’s devastating recent cancer diagnosis, a diagnosis that no child or parent should ever have to endure, the Sakonnet Schooner football player is showing us all how to live life to the fullest.
As Shawny’s health begins to decline, don’t expect his spirit to.
While a diagnosis such as his would understandably cause some to sit at home in sorrow and fear, not Shawny. Instead, this full of life 10-year-old created a bucket list with the determination to knock down each and every item on that list. With some help from others, both financially and otherwise, he is doing just that. Whether it is meeting superheroes, hanging out with his favorite team the Philadelphia Eagles, or having a facetime chat with Katy Perry, Shawny is living his life with unmatched joy and personality like a boy that will live forever….and in our hearts he will.
When watching Shawny live his life with such happiness, bravery, and conviction, one can’t help but be reminded of a young Fall River resident who stole our hearts but left us all too soon. Nelly Eaton.
Like Shawny is, Nelly was larger than life. She was so full of spirit despite a debilitating sickness that was slowly taking it from her. A Durfee cheerleader with plenty of pep, Nelly was the life of the party who brightened a room when she walked in with her big beaming smile.
You wouldn’t know how sick Nelly was when you saw her. While facing her own battle, she would brighten the day of others while staying at a local hospital. When chemo took her hair, she strutted out in public with confidence and conviction. Even when hanging out with celebrities, she was the real star. When Nelly had to resort to getting around in a wheelchair as cancer was taking its toll, it didn’t stop her from showing off that trademark smile.
As strong a mark as Shawny and Nelly have left on our area, there are many, too many, children, fighting bravely in a less public manner.
While watching the good die young is something so cruel and unfair, they continue to teach us all a valuable lesson on how to live.