Shane Thurston was born April 17, 2004, and was immediately the kind of person people wanted to be around. He never met a stranger and befriended those who were less social or who just needed a friend. Every friend he had felt as if he were their BEST friend. He went out of his way to ensure everyone felt they had someone in him. All the while, neglecting his own needs for the same; as many like him do.
He was an artist with an extraordinarily deep meaning behind each piece he that he drew, especially when considering his age. I recall a time, he came into the kitchen and told me all about a picture he was going to draw. It was going to be of the statue of liberty that is bound and chained with money and the American Flag. He went on to explain that the chains represented that while we are seemingly a free country, we are prisoners of money and greed. This is just one example of many of his insightful nature.
On February 12, 2018, Shane tragically ended his life at the early age of 13, leaving behind an innumerable amount of others grieving his death daily. At his funeral, where there were over 400 attendees, I had more than one student approach me to tell me about how he had saved their life. They had voiced feelings of hopelessness and life uncertainty to him and he had stayed with them to ensure they made it safely through to the positive side of those feelings.
I only hope that his passion for other’s happiness can remain instilled in all those impacted by his light. With this Foundation, his message of positivity can still live on.
The Shane Thurston Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering children to build self-confidence, self-love and self-worth to enrich their mental health, awareness and relationships by providing access to educational programs.