6-year-old Charlee Shaw takes small steps along road to recovery
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — It would be easy to focus on the tragic events of Christmas Eve that claimed the life of his wife and left his 6-year-old daughter, Charlee, in an Aurora hospital, but Brett Shaw still believes in miracles.
“On one side, I’m absolutely heartbroken at the loss of my wife and, on the other side, ecstatic with joy that my daughter is alive today,” Shaw said. “It is a miracle that she is alive. I’ve seen all the evidence. I have put my hands on it, and it is a miracle that she is here today, and I can thank God for that.”
Shaw said his love of God and his faith have helped him endure the 12 days since his wife, Sancy, 38, was killed in a crash on Interstate 70 near Genesee and the exit for U.S. Highway 40. Their daughter, Charlee, was transported to Children’s Hospital in Aurora in critical condition, where she remains. The family lives in Clark.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Sancy Shaw Memorial Account at Yampa Valley Bank in Steamboat Springs.
A GoFundMe page also has been set up to collect donations for the family.
“She is not talking, and based on her injury and the part of her brain that has been damaged, whether or not she is ever going to be able to talk again is up in the air at his point,” Shaw said of his daughter. “The doctors are optimistic that because of the way a child’s brain works sometimes they can relearn using a different part of their brain.”
Shaw said Charlee is able to lift her arms, and she tracks people with her eyes as they walk into the room and as they walk around her bed.
“If you read to her, she will look at the pages,” Shaw said. “We have been able to get some responsiveness — sometimes on command — meaning if you put your finger in her hand and say, ‘Charlee, if you like this book, squeeze my finger.’ Five seconds will go by, and she will squeeze your finger.”
While the improvements are small, they have been comforting to a father looking to find hope. He expects Charlee to be at Children’s Hospital for the next three to four months.
“When I saw my daughter the first night, I did not think that I was ever going to be leaving there with her alive — flat out,” Shaw said.
Today, Charlee is breathing on her own, and she has been moved off the ICU floor. Shaw treats each milestone as a gift.
But he also knows that Charlee’s journey will be long and hard. On Monday, Charlee will have plastic and reconstructive surgery on her face and skull where it was damaged in the crash.
“We are asking for prayers for that,” Shaw said. “That’s the next big hurdle, and after that, she will be taken over by the rehabilitation team and get into a regular rehabilitation regiment.”
Shaw said he is thankful for family and friends who have been there to support him during these difficult times. He also has been overwhelmed by the response.
“They had the core family group all around them, all the time and every day,” Shaw said of his three sons. “That has been absolutely incredible.”
Family and friends are rotating shifts at the hospital to make sure somebody is with Charlee 24 hours a day, seven days a week, giving Shaw time to spend with his three other children — Wyatt, Mason and Jaxon.
“I feel very blessed that we have that good core family and friends that have been helping us out,” Shaw said. “That has allowed us to do everything we possibly can to meet our kids’ needs in this situation.”
People have also provided transportation, meals and support, and a GoFundMe page created to support the Shaw family has raised over $117,000.
“The GoFundMe page is an absolute blessing,” Shaw said. “I’m so overwhelmed and blown away by people’s generosity, and that’s a definitive way that people can help immediately. The most effective way to help is the GoFundMe page because we are going to be able to use that in a lot of different ways to help our family.”
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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