The charities supported by the Aidan Shea Foundation were chosen because they either represent causes in which Aidan personally believed or which were inspired by Aidan's story. Two have been with the foundation from its formation; one was added in 2017 and another added in 2018. More Aidan-related charities will likely continue to be added through the years. Below is information about charities supported by Aidan Shea Foundation so far.
The Lurie PICU (Pedicatric Intensive Care Unit) Project IGNITE is lead and was formed by the lead doctor who handled Aidan's care in Lurie’s PICU, Dr. Marcelo Malakooti. The Aidan Shea Foundation has learned lots about the project over the last two years and truly believe in its mission to improve care for critically ill PICU patients. An example of work done by Project IGNITE is finding a way for families who can’t physically be in the PICU during rounds to participate virtually. Another example is creating virtual reality worlds for critically ill patients to enjoy. The Aidan Shea Foundation supported Dr. Malakooti’s work in early 2016 with an over $30,000 gift to Project IGNITE. The Foundation donated an additional $15,000 in 2017 and $15,000 in 2018 to the Project following the December Greek God events hosted by the Foundation. Click this link to learn more about Project IGNITE.
Thanks to the generous support of the Aidan Shea Foundation. We in the IGNITE Innovation program in the PICU at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago have been able to build and grow innovative solutions for our special patients and families whom we serve. The partnership of the Foundation and efforts of the Shea family to assist us in searching for new, creative ways to enhance our care delivery, from virtual reality programs to preserving life-saving resources, has been integral to our development and preservation of our Mission.
Aidan’s family did not want all the funds raised in Aidan’s honor to be used for charities connected with his illness - which represented only five days of his life. They also wanted to support something that he loved while he was living - not while he was sick. And there was little that Aidan loved more than reading and the library - both the Elmhurst public library and his school library. Jackson School was in the midst of undertaking an effort to revamp its library to make it a more conducive learning space for the many Jackson students that utilized it when the Aidan Shea Foundation was formed. The Foundation donated $10,000 to these efforts following the Greek God Gala event. With this donation, the library purchased new furniture and a truckload of non-fiction books to add to the library collection. Proceeds from the 2017 Greek Gods in the Gutter event will be used to continue to supplement the library collection at Jackson. Aidan would be so proud to be supporting this effort.
Following the 2017 Greek Gods in the Gutter event, the Aidan Shea Foundation again approached the Jackson Library and offered a $10,000 gift. Peg Lewis, Jackson’s librarian (and one of Aidan’s favorite people in the world) suggested that the Foundation donate ½ of the funds to the Jackson Library and the other half to the Bryan Middle School Library. Connor attended Bryan as did many of Aidan’s friends given that Aidan would be a middle school student were he still with us. Peg believed that Aidan’s friends would find it comforting and special to have books and other items in their current library made possible because of Aidan. The Foundation followed Peg’s advice and made a $5000 donation both to the Jackson Library and the Bryan Library.
Aidan was an avid reader and recommender of books. His legacy lives on, with Jackson library filled with children reading books donated in his memory.
The Bryan Middle School Library is so grateful for the money received from the Aidan Shea Foundation! This donation allowed us create the beginnings of a 21st centruy space.
Gift of Hope Organ and Tissue Donor Network is the non-profit organization responsible for coordinating organ and tissue donation in the state of Illinois, among others. Gift of Hope helps rewrite the endings of the stories of loved ones tragically lost. Unbeknownst to his parents, Aidan’s story inspired a project within Gift of Hope to facilitate greater cooperation between the organization and its pediatric hospital partners. Although Aidan’s family wished him to be an organ donor, it was not possible due to a variety of communication factors which Gift of Hope sought to change. And the project worked! Pediatric donations increased exponentially after Project Aidan was implemented. When the Foundation heard this story, they decided that Gift of Hope was a perfect donor organization for the Foundation. Aidan’s mom has since begun sharing Aidan’s Gift of Hope story at pediatric medical conferences in the Chicago-land area. In early 2018, the Foundation made a $5,000 contribution to Gift of Hope in Aidan’s memory. These contributions will be used to further increase education within the pediatric critical care community to make donation an option for every family who loses a child. Click this link for more information about Gift of Hope.
Aidan was a 'donor in spirit' and although he was unable to donate, the Shea family's willingess to share their experience has helped our partners understand the healing benefits of donation for families who suffer devastating losses. The Aidan Shea Foundation provides generous financial contributions, which are helping to ensure that the families get the opportunity to offer the gift of hope and life to others. Theresa Shea has become an impactful Gift of Hope advocate for organ and tissue donation by sharing Aidan's story with medical professionals throughout the Chicago area.