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The University of Iowa University of Iowa

The Shaun O'Brien Family

“Shaun was a hunting, fishing, active, life-loving, 16-year-old machinist when he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in 2015.  We just returned home from vacation and took Shaun to the doctor because he was not feeling well.  That was the beginning of his nightmare that would last until June 3, 2018, the day he passed away.

Shaun went through four intense rounds of chemotherapy that kept him in the hospital from July until December of 2015.  Throughout his chemo he was ill and never felt very good, but always had a smile on his face and chose to be polite and kind to his nurses, doctors, and his family.  All was going well after he was in remission until a check-up in May of 2016.  Shaun had relapsed.  To say we were all devastated is an understatement. 

In August of 2016, Shaun received his first bone marrow transplant.  We were thrilled that an anonymous donor stepped up to give Shaun a chance at life by donating her marrow.  It was a difficult and trying time for about six months.  There was illness, nausea, weight loss, and countless other things he had to deal with, but never let it get him down. 

15 months later, two days before Shaun turned 19, he relapsed again in February of 2018.  We never gave up.  We had to stay positive for him.  Shaun underwent two more rounds of intense chemo.  At the end of May he underwent a second bone marrow transplant, but passed away nine days later.

Shaun never complained.  Never got upset.  Never asked why him.  He kept up college studies from the hospital after relapsing and four days before passing away ordered his college textbooks for the summer semester.  He is a true inspiration to us.  We don't know how we are able to live without him, but we do.  Shaun is missed every second of every day.

Thank you to everyone who donates blood, platelets, and plasma!  Please consider saving a life by signing up to become a bone marrow donor at Thank you, Dance Marathon, and ALL the volunteers who have helped our family during Shaun's battle and continue to support us."

-Shaun's family: Mike, Carrie, and Hanna O'Brien