The Aidan Shea Foundation was formed the year after Aidan passed away. A wise friend of Aidan's mom mentioned the idea of a Foundation to her on a cold and snowy day in January of 2016. While she wasn't ready to consider it seriously at that point, the idea remained in the back of her brain as a way to honor Aidan's memory and create a legacy which could live on in his name. Over $30,000 was raised in Aidan's honor to support Lurie Children's Hospital in the two weeks after Aidan passed away. This spontaneous generosity from the Elmhurst and Shea/Robbins family communities made the Foundation seem like something that just might work. But it felt too overwhelming to tackle it in those first few months.
During the summer of 2016, Connor mentioned to his doctor that he was feeling sad about the fact that he would never again truly have a birthday celebration. Because his twin Aidan was now gone, Connor presumed that everyone would be too sad to want to celebrate his birthday. Connor's doctor approached his mom and suggested that the family designate an Aidan Shea celebration/memorial day each year which was separate from the twins' October 29 birthday. She believed that doing so would give Connor permission to enjoy and celebrate his own birthday without feeling guilty about the absence of Aidan. While this concept continued to seem overwhelming to Aidan's parents, friends of Aidan's mom were quick to jump on the idea. They combined the thoughts of a celebratory event and the Foundation and suggested an Aidan Shea party occur later in 2016. Aidan's parents quickly warmed to the idea and decided that early December would be a perfect time to celebrate Aidan. They anticipated that it would be a difficult month with the anniversary of Aidan's passing and the holidays. They hoped this would provide the family a distracting and hopefully joyful way to celebrate Aidan during an otherwise very hard time.
The week that the date for the event was set, Connor began to plan his birthday party. His doctor's plan worked and Connor has enjoyed and celebrated his October birthday each year since Aidan passed away while celebrating his brother each December!
The Foundation received its 501(c)(3) approval in September of 2016 and the inaugural Aidan Shea Foundation event was held at the Wilder Mansion in Elmhurst on December 3 of 2016. The event was a Greek God Gala, the theme a nod to Aidan's love of Greek mythology. The Foundation raised $25,000 in that single night in support of the Jackson School Library Renovation Project and the Lurie Children's Hospital Ignite PICU Project (see all the charities we currently support). In 2017, the Foundation sponsored its second annual event on December 2, 2017 at Fitz's Spare Keys in Elmhurst. Continuing the mythological them, this event had Aidan's Greek Gods in the (bowling) Gutter. The Aidan Foundation’s third annual event is scheduled for December 1, 2018 with a Greek Gods in the Gutter repeat at Fitz’s Spare Keys.
The Foundation board consists of Aidan's parents, his uncles Matt Robbins and Bill Shea, and his godmother Marie Parker. In addition to these board members, the following volunteers have donated countless hours towards the Aidan Shea Foundation:
Kate Bialecki, Rebecca and Charlie Cohen, Heather Fiore, Maureen Franchi, Margie Gotsch of Angel Fancy Design Studio, Ginger Mackay, Liza Passarelli, Alison Power, Becky Robbins, Bee Robbins, Abbie Roche, Mary Margaret Sanderson, Bill and Diane Shea, Jordan Shea, Mary Shea, Morgan Shea, Kendra Shearer, Heather and Brian Stalker of Elmhurst Photo Boutique, Dawn Spivey, Kristen Tobin, Holly Wahr, Jenn Wylie, and Lori Yagoda.