Parents Grant and Margie Sheldon established the Kyle Sheldon Memorial Fund with two aims; memorialise their late son Kyle and his legacy, and help to prevent other families from going through what they went through.
Kyle was born with a twisted bowel that had cut off the blood supply to the rest of the organ. An emergency operation at the RCH at only a few days old led to the removal of most of his bowel. The initial operation was lifesaving, but little Kyle required 36 operations in 36 months before his parents could finally take him home.
While his condition was continually managed with medication, care plans and check-ups at the RCH, Kyle did not let it hold him back, attending school with his friends, playing cricket and football.
“He was living a normal life until he was 26. He took himself to hospital because he had a pain in the guts and was diagnosed with an aggressive bowel cancer,” said father Grant.
After fighting hard for four months, Kyle lost his battle with cancer. Whilst the ending of Kyle’s life was tragic and deeply saddening for his family and numerous circles of friends, the story of his courage, determination and persistence inspired the Sheldon’s to establish the Kyle Sheldon Memorial Fund and support the RCH.
After careful consideration, the Colorectal and Pelvic Reconstruction Service (CPRS), led by Associate Professor Sebastian King, was chosen to fund as it resonated strongly with the family’s experiences.
“While the surgeon-centric model worked for us at the time with Kyle at the RCH, we could see with changing times, the increased amount of cases and their complexities that this model was not the way to continue. We strongly believe the CPRS will result in better patient and family outcomes for children afflicted with conditions similar to what Kyle had,” said Grant.
The Kyle Sheldon Memorial Fund has committed $150,000 over three years to ensure the CPRS can deliver a truly world class patient care model and improve the quality of life of children with complex colorectal, urological and gynaecological conditions.
The Kyle Sheldon Memorial Golf Day, which runs annually in January, is the family’s major fundraising event. Organised by Kyle’s brother Joel and his friends, the day was initially established to get mates together to remember Kyle over a round of golf. The inaugural event in 2017 received overwhelming support from the community, raising $7,000, and continues to grow larger every year.
“We got 26 years of fantastic time with Kyle. It pains us every day that Kyle is no longer with us but we take some solace in knowing he would be proud of his legacy,” said Grant.