Train cars colored in shades of hope


Tom Loftus/ sports editor

Someday, a healthy, happy, fully-grown adult named Shaymus Guinn will be riding a train toward an important destination.

At one point, he will glance out the window and spot crowd a young people, perhaps college students, and he will smile, remembering the beginning of his journey, and the kindness of strangers who helped him and his family when times were especially tough.

In 2012, Shaymus is still a child, however, a child battling a rare form of bone cancer known as Ewing’s sarcoma. The son of Western Illinois’ head women’s soccer coach Tony Guinn has been in and out of hospitals for the past three years, and this past year has been particularly difficult for Shaymus and his family.

Western students and community members have generously donated their time and monies for such activities as the annual Shaymus Relays and other various fund-raising activities over the past three years. The latest effort to help Shaymus centers on two of his favorite things: trains and art.

Shaymus, who has displayed remarkable artistic talent for his age, loves to paint, and is particularly fond of trains. Members of the Leathernecks women’s soccer team recently got the idea to do something special for Shaymus’ upcoming (Feb. 23) 11th birthday that encompasses both interests.

At last Saturday’s women’s/men’s basketball doubleheader at Western Hall, sophomore soccer player Jennica Myers and her freshman teammate, Lindsay Langer, were set up at a table selling “train cars” for $1 each for fans to color in. Leathernecks assistant coach Mariana Sanchez was also on hand.

Once the soccer team has collected all of the “cars,” the team members plan to deliver them to Shaymus at his hospital room at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.

Any monies donated will be provided to the Guinn family to help defray their extensive medical and travel costs involved with Shaymus’ care.

“Shaymus will be undergoing an experimental bone marrow transplant shortly after his birthday,” Sanchez said. “Hopefully he will be able to go home again after that, but we wanted to give him a present that was better than just buying him a new toy.”