Bucket list fulfilled, Tiverton’s brave Shawny Smith passes away

Youngster’s last year included visit with Philadelphia Eagles, his favorite team

Posted 12/16/20

TIVERTON — Shawny Smith, aka ‘Super Shawny,’ the Tiverton youngster who battled inoperable brain cancer, passed away Sunday afternoon at home with his family.

His family posted …

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Bucket list fulfilled, Tiverton’s brave Shawny Smith passes away

Youngster’s last year included visit with Philadelphia Eagles, his favorite team

Posted

TIVERTON — Shawny Smith, aka ‘Super Shawny,’ the Tiverton youngster who battled inoperable brain cancer, passed away Sunday afternoon at home with his family.

His family posted the sad news on their Facebook page Monday night accompanied by the photo above …

“It is with a heavy heart that I have to share with you all, Shawny, our superhero passed away Sunday afternoon, at home with his family. Shawny told us when this all started ‘Ironman went into the fight knowing the outcome; but still gave it the best he got. Mine will be better..’ And that’s what he did. He fought harder than anyone, with an amazing team by his side. This past year he got to live and see amazing things, and meet amazing people. His fight, like Ironman, will never be forgotten.”

They added, “Shawny’s favorite thing was getting cards and letters from you all, and in this time his sisters could use a little of that,” the family wrote. “If you wish to send a little cheer into their lives over the next few weeks, Shawny’s PO Box is still open.”

Shawny’s PO Box is below.

Shawny Smith
PO Box 582
Tiverton RI 02878-9998

The 10-year-old’s battle with Gliomatosis Cerebri became widely known and followed when his family shared the fact that Shawny had prepared a bucket list, atop which was his dream of meeting Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox.

That dream, and others on his list, came true with the help of family, friends, followers and the Philadelphia Eagles.

Our account of that adventure (from January 31, 2020, read:

TIVERTON — Ten-year-old Tiverton resident Shawny Smith had hoped he might get to meet some players, especially his favorite, Fletcher Cox, but the Philadelphia Eagles had more in mind for this young fan and brain cancer patient.

Upon arrival at the Eagles facility Tuesday, Jan. 28, Shawny was escorted inside and given treatment rivaling that of some prime draftee.

Fletcher Cox was indeed there to greet him and to give Shawny, his mother Monica Velozo, and stepfather John Amalla, the grand tour of the facilities. He was introduced to Eagles players, shown the field and locker room and given a Fletcher Cox jersey, signed on the spot by the star defensive tackle (Super Bowl champ and five-time pro-bowl winner).

Along the way, Shawny got to try on a Super Bowl ring (earned by the Eagles for beating the New England Patriots), and hoist the Lombardi Trophy.

Among those there to greet the Tiverton family was Head Coach Doug Pederson who emerged with a contract declaring Shawny an honorary member of the Eagles. After perusing the contract with his family, he signed up and posed for photos taken by the Eagles’ photographer.

The Eagles visit was part of a bucket list of adventures that Shawny and his family prepared with help from friends.

That list includes a Super Bowl Sunday visit to New York City and the 9/11 Memorial, the National Zoo in Washington, DC where he especially hopes to see the pandas, the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument, a stop to see his Meme in Florida where he also wants to see Cape Canaveral and Sea World, and perhaps visits to Arizona and/or California — to see what they are like, and to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

The diagnosis and bucket list trip have all happened seemingly in a flash. Shawny, a Tiverton Middle School student, suffered a seizure in late December and, after undergoing tests, was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer (Gliomatosis Cerebri) for which surgery in Shawn's case is not an option because the cancer involves too much of his brain.

The trip was organized quickly because his doctors were concerned that he might not be up to it if they waited much longer.

Many in the community helped put the trip together and in other ways, among them Joshua Barbosa, his coach on the Sakonnet Schooners youth football team.

Ashley DeMello-Smith, Shawney’s aunt, set up a GoFundMe page - Super Shawny’s Bucket List, that, as of Friday morning, had raised over $43,000 of its $50,000 goal.

Ms DeMello Smith writes, “Through all of this Shawny remained positive, upbeat and his charismatic self. Guessing the nurses’ ages, predicting football games, he was amazing all of us, so he was dubbed Super Shawny. He has been a superhero since he was born, he was fighting his way out of the NICU as a newborn, and now he's fighting cancer.”

She adds, “He has a passion for Football, he plays for the Sakonnet Schooners , and his favorite football team is the Philadelphia Eagles, despite living in Patriots Nation. He loves Marvel Movies, his favorite super hero is Doctor Strange (because of his brain!), he loves Math, Puzzles, Pandas, and his favorite Youtuber is SloGoMan. He is your everyday 10 year old boy, who teachers adore, coaches love. He's the best big brother, fun little brother and amazing son. He lights up a room with his personality.”

One of Shawny’s wishes was to create his own YouTube channel, a wish that has been fulfilled. You can check it out and watch videos, including one of his Eagles visit, at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPXucqaqcG0T9x4rlphMDEQ

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