“Baby Shawn” Kennedy runs with the Bulls


About three years ago, “Baby Shawn” Kennedy was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer. In the time following his diagnosis, Shawn’s mom, Nicole Vathy, said both the University at Buffalo’s men and women’s basketball teams became a part of their lives.

“They always come to the walk that we do,” Vathy said. “We do a pediatric walk on the first down at the Falls, and Coach Jack and the women’s and men’s teams are always a part of it to raise awareness for pediatric cancer.”

Because of the teams’ continuous support Vathy said they wanted to take the opportunity to support them. Monday, Shawn brought the men’s team a congratulatory cake and spent the day shooting hoops with the team.

“They love me,” Shawn said. 

Now, Shawn shares something in common with the teams. This year he joined a basketball team.

“He’s always loved playing basketball, so he’s been following his brother,” Vathy said. “His brother’s been playing for three years for travel. [Shawn’s] always been part of their team, but now he can actually play.”

The family also joined the women’s team for their celebration at Santora’s Wednesday evening, after finding out they’ll be heading to Storrs, CT to play Rutgers.

“I feel happy,” Shawn said.

The family said they’ll continue to find ways to show the two teams that have had their back all of these years that they now have theirs.

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