Up until his cancer diagnosis in 2000, Sean’s life was pretty typical for a kid his age. The middle child of a three-kid household, Sean learned very quickly how to get his way using humor. He was notorious for his antics.
It was in 1991, when Sean was 7 years old, that his dad (Mitch), mom (Amy), older brother (Alex), and younger sister (Emily) packed up their home in Michigan and moved to sunny San Diego. Once there, Sean became very active in outdoor sports.
When he got older, Sean attended Francis Parker School for both middle and high school. He spent his days at Francis Parker learning and growing socially. He was blossoming into a happy and healthy teenager. As a freshman, Sean joined the school’s varsity baseball team. He played second base until the middle of his sophomore year, when he was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer that affects bone and soft tissue.
Sean fought valiantly and even went into remission when he was 18. It was during this time that he discovered a passion for acting. Although he began his drama career later than many of his peers, Sean was a natural and lit up the stage. In fact, he landed the role of “Daddy Warbucks” in a local production of Annie.
Still, Sean’s biggest role was that of hero to his family. His family members beamed with pride as they watched Sean accept his diploma in 2002, graduating alongside his classmates. He did this in spite of the year of chemotherapy, radiation, and emotional difficulties related to having cancer he had endured. Sean was also accepted to attend the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at the prestigious Northwestern University in Chicago. Unfortunately, he enrolled in classes twice, but was never able to attend due to his illness.
Sean’s struggle was long and difficult. After being diagnosed at 16, Seany fought for the next seven years to conquer cancer and regain his health. Although the statistics for his prognosis were bleak, he never lost his will to live. Somehow, Sean managed to keep a positive outlook and move forward with his life, becoming a guide and leader to other kids and teens fighting cancer.
Sean underwent countless treatments, many of which had never been used by someone with Ewing sarcoma. He held out hope that each experimental treatment would be “the one.” He often recited uplifting phrases such as “Third time’s a charm” and “When nothing is certain, everything is possible!”
An inspiration to all who knew him, Sean fought for his life until his final hour. We can only hope to borrow some of Sean’s strength and wisdom as we face our own battles in life.