By ARDEN BASTIA Rowan Shaw, just two and a half years old, is fighting for his life. Diagnosed in December 2020, Rowan is currently battling high-risk metastatic neuroblastoma, a pediatric cancer that produces fast-growing tumors. Doctors say it's a
Rowan Shaw, just two and a half years old, is fighting for his life.
Diagnosed in December 2020, Rowan is currently battling high-risk metastatic neuroblastoma, a pediatric cancer that produces fast-growing tumors. Doctors say it’s a rare cancer that only 700 to 1,000 kids get diagnosed with per year. The tumor sits on his adrenal gland and spread to his bones, causing him to lose the ability to walk. It’s an aggressive cancer that requires aggressive treatments—over a year of chemotherapy, radiation, and immunotherapy.
Rowan’s diagnosis has impacted the entire Shaw family. David Shaw, Rowan’s father, was in the midst of his most successful year in his woodcraft business when he had to close the doors. Rowan’s mother, Kendall, has also quit her job to become Rowan’s full-time caretaker, since his battered immune system prevents him from safely attending daycare.
Other than for Rowan’s treatments, many of which take place up in Boston at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the Shaws rarely leave the house.
To cheer Rowan up, Warwick Police Sargeant Matthew Higgins brought a surprise right to the Shaws’ front door.
On Monday, Sgt. Higgins organized the Fight for Rowan light parade, a drive by event featuring first responders representing almost every city and town in Rhode Island, as well as many from Massachusetts. More than 130 vehicles, with a Massachusetts State Police helicopter leading the way from above and Warwick Police motorcyclists on the ground, paraded from Bishop Hendricken High School to the family’s house, dazzling Rowan with whirling colors and piercing sounds.
Bringing up the rear of the parade were three RI State Police cruisers. Troopers stopped in front of the house to deliver a bag of wrapped gifts, including toys, coloring books, and crayons.
Sgt. Higgins learned of Rowan and his family through the news media and impromptu light parades that have delighted the toddler over the past few months, where well-wishers honk and wave their support.
Higgins posted information about the Fight for Rowan light parade on the Warwick Police Facebook page, and it grew from there.
“We’re just looking for ways to show support for the family and for Rowan,” Sgt. Higgins said in an interview on Wednesday. “Hopefully this is something to cheer them up.”
Additionally, the Warwick Police Department has been selling Fight for Rowan decals, available for $10 at the police station.
The WPD has already collected $2,000 from the fundraiser.
Sgt. Higgins says he’s impressed at the community response. “We asked for help and it’s amazing how everyone showed up.”
Rowan’s uncle, Daniel Rayhall, started a GoFundMe to assist the Shaw family with medical expenses. So far, over $20,000 has been collected, with a goal of $50,000. For updates on Rowan’s condition, visit www.facebook.com/FightForRown, and to donate to the Shaw family, visit https://gofund.me/bd581987.