Facing difficult diagnosis, Tiverton boy finds strength in wish list

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TIVERTON, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Shawny Smith, a 10-year-old from Tiverton, has a lot he wants to accomplish in his life. 

But, what he doesn’t have – is a lot of time to do it all. 

Shawny was recently diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor ─ and Josh Barbosa, a family friend, tells Eyewitness News the prognosis isn’t good.

“It [the tumor] is basically from the front all the way to the back of his brain. Any type of surgery would kill him,” Barbosa explained.

Despite being given only months to live, Shawny said he is in good spirits and is focused on experiencing as much as he can in the time he does have left.

In order to do so, the Tiverton Middle School student created a bucket list after hearing a song in his social studies class about state capitals.

“Me and my best friend became addicted to the song,” Shawny said. “I started naming places and my mom said ‘Let’s go!'”

There are many things on Shawny’s wish list. But at the top, he said he wants to play football with his own football team at Gillette Stadium, to tour Washington D.C., and to meet his favorite athlete: Philadelphia Eagles Defensive Tackle Fletcher Cox. Shawny is a huge Eagles fan. 

“He’s kind of a big guy ─ strong, brave and does what he has to do to get through the line,” Shawny said of Cox. 

Barbosa said those same words could also describe the 10-year-old they call “Super Shawny.” Barbosa coaches Shawny’s football team. 

“We [Barbosa and Shawny] were talking to the doctor, and Shawny said he’s glad it’s him because if it wasn’t, it would be some other kid,” Barbosa recalled.

“I could go on for days,” family friend and football coach Ray Deschenes said. “His personality could light up a room. Just the way he is with making a bad situation into such a positive. This whole situation, he looks at it so positively. He makes it hard for you to cry for him because he is just so strong.”

Shawny said he’s grateful for his family, friends and the community ─ who have all stood by him during his fight.

“Never quit, never stop, never give up. That’s what they told me, and that’s what got me here, and that’s a good thing,” Shawny said.

Eyewitness News has learned Shawny will be meeting the Eagles at the end of the month in Philadelphia, and he will then be traveling to New York City, Washington D.C. and Maryland.

Anyone who wants to help “Super Shawny” complete his bucket list, can donate to his GoFundMe page.

View Shawny’s complete bucket list below.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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