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 The Sheeren family enjoys spending time at the Crystal Palace at Disney’s Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida, this past December. Pictured, left to right, back row are: brother Jack, sister Claire, Winnie the Pooh, mom Julie, and brother Thomas. Pictured left to right, front row, are sister Elizabeth and dad Christopher.

The Sheeren family enjoys spending time at the Crystal Palace at Disney’s Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida, this past December. Pictured, left to right, back row are: brother Jack, sister Claire, Winnie the Pooh, mom Julie, and brother Thomas. Pictured left to right, front row, are sister Elizabeth and dad Christopher.

Photos provided by Claire Sheeren


Student continues palliative care fundraiser for second year

By: Maria Allard | Grosse Pointe Times | Published May 4, 2020

 The Sheeren Family, from left, dad Christopher, Claire, Elizabeth, Thomas, mom Julie and Jack pose with Cinderella’s castle in the background at Disney’s Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida.

The Sheeren Family, from left, dad Christopher, Claire, Elizabeth, Thomas, mom Julie and Jack pose with Cinderella’s castle in the background at Disney’s Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida.

 Siblings Elizabeth and Jack Sheeren take a break at Oga’s Cantina in Hollywood Studios.

Siblings Elizabeth and Jack Sheeren take a break at Oga’s Cantina in Hollywood Studios.

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FARMS — One year ago, the first-ever Run, Walk ’n’ Roll 5K fundraiser to raise money for the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital Pediatric Palliative Care Program in Ann Arbor was held at Grosse Pointe South High School. 

The event welcomed more than 550 participants and raised more than $46,000. The idea for such a benefit came from South student Claire Sheeren, whose sister, Elizabeth Sheeren, 20, has battled various autoimmune diseases that have included repeated stays at the children’s hospital. 

There were plans to hold a second annual Run, Walk ’n’ Roll 5K fundraiser this year on April 26, but because of the COVID-19 outbreak, the event was canceled. Due to the circumstances, Claire, a South senior, decided to create an online campaign to again help the Pediatric Palliative Care Program. 

The initial goal was to raise $5,000 through the online fundraiser, but due to “an amazing response from the community,” Claire said via email, the goal was raised to $10,000. Because the fundraiser was so successful, that goal was then raised to $35,000. At press time, the online campaign had raised more than $33,000 in donations. 

“After we reached $10,000 we added all of the donations we had received from our race website, which is now inactive, along with our donations from all of our corporate sponsors,” Claire, 18, said in an email. 

The Sheeren family also includes mom Julie, dad Chris, older brothers Thomas and Jack, and dog Murphy. This past Christmas, the family visited Disney’s Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida, through the Make-A-Wish Foundation on Elizabeth’s behalf.

Palliative care is a comprehensive approach that focuses on the physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs of patients with chronic or life-threatening illnesses. The Pediatric Palliative Care Program helps families set goals for their child’s care; assists families with decision-making; encourages discussions about the patient’s prognosis; helps families deal with feelings of guilt, anger, powerlessness, frustration and grief; helps them communicate with medical specialists; and more.

“I am so thankful to everyone who has donated so far. It has been amazing to see all of the community support despite the current difficult circumstances. I seriously cannot believe we have raised this much money this year, and this has greatly exceeded our expectations,” Claire said. “Another thing I want to add is that I am so thankful for all of our sponsors. I reached out to all of them when we decided to move to a virtual fundraiser, and every single one followed through, which truly shows how much they cared about the work Palliative Care does.”

For anyone who would like to make a donation, the link to the virtual fundraiser is: charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/run-walk-n-roll-digital-campaign-for-palliative-care. The Instagram address is @runwalknroll and the Facebook page is Run Walk n Roll 5K.

For the past two weeks, organizers have been offering daily sponsor shoutouts to feature each of the event sponsors. Last week, current Mott palliative care patients were highlighted on social media as they shared their stories about their experiences at the hospital.

Elizabeth currently goes to Mott every Monday for treatment. According to Claire, she had complications with anesthesia after a surgery last November and spent almost the entire month in the hospital, including Thanksgiving. 

She was also hospitalized for a week last June for high blood pressure, along with a few emergency room visits throughout the summer. Elizabeth is immunocompromised due to some of the medications she is on, so she is in the at-risk group for COVID-19. 

“We have had to be very careful during the pandemic, and most of the other Palliative Care patients and their families are in similar situations. This was one of my big inspirations for doing the Run, Walk n Roll Virtual Fundraiser since many of these families are facing increased financial and emotional stress right now. They have already been living with uncertainty, and now have so much more of it in their lives,” Claire said.

Elizabeth wants to be a palliative care doctor. She was accepted as a student to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Because of her medical issues, Elizabeth has not been able to attend. 

“Elizabeth took a college course online through Washtenaw Community College in the fall to see if going to college would be a possibility, but with all of her health complications, her doctors decided it would be best for her to focus on her health and trying to get in a stable condition before considering college,” Claire said. 

Claire plans to attend Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, this fall. Despite Elizabeth’s health issues, the two sisters spend a lot of time together. They love to play board games and make ice cream sundaes at home. 

“We continue to have a strong faith in the Lord and pray that one day God will fully heal Elizabeth,” Claire said. 

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