The thing about Superheroes is: they can’t always win. But when they do lose, their memory is enshrined in our hearts forever. Declan Leehan, son of Drew and Lyndsey, touched so many lives in the short time he was with us, and the example he set by his life, will forever be a part of everyone. He fought bravely against a rare cancerous enemy, more valiantly than any hero should have to.
He entered this world earlier than expected, so excited to learn and play sports. He was clearly a sports lover from the start, as his mother began experiencing labor pains while on the golf course. A determined little man, he learned to swing a club, bat, and perfected his slap shot long before the age of two. During treatments at the University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital, he would often rally the nurses to start a game in the hallways, a doctor or two would even join in the fun. His iconic orange golf club and hockey stick will be remembered as his Superhero sword and shield, used to distract and uplift both him and us from the difficult treatments he was experiencing.
All Superheroes have a secret identity and Declan’s was modeled after Curious George. Declan’s personality was very similar to that of George, innocently curious, easily excited, and accidentally mischievous. We will forever liken his inquisitive, adventurous attitude to that of the cartoon monkey that so brightened his dreary hospital days, and inspired a time of discovery amidst unfamiliar surroundings.
Declan was and continues to be so loved and still provides us all with love even in passing. When he needed comfort, his family was there to support him like all sidekicks do. When we needed comfort, he would look up at us with his big kind eyes, touch our faces and give us a big hug and kiss. Heroes know love more than anyone.
Wounded in his battle, Declan told us to be strong, that he would always be there for his sisters, Teagan and McKenzie, and his Mommy and Daddy. He graced us with 1,115,950 seconds, and used his last to give us one final hug telling us that he is with his family in heaven and that everything is going to be okay.
Visitation will be from 5-7 p.m., with a prayer service at 7 p.m., Sunday, August 13, at Dahl Funeral Home in East Grand Forks, MN. The memorial service will be 3 p.m. Monday, August 14, at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in East Grand Forks, MN. Following the service there will be a celebration of life at the River Heights Trail Head Picnic Pavillion in East Grand Forks, MN on the corner of 12th St. NW and River Road NW.
In Lieu of flowers please make donations in honor of Declan to the Ronald McDonald House Upper Midwest Charities or University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital Music Therapy Program.