Charlee Shaw celebrates 7th birthday along road to recovery |

Charlee Shaw celebrates 7th birthday along road to recovery

John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today
The Shaw family, from left, Wyatt, Jaxon, Mason, Charlee and Brett pose for a photo during a recent trip to Silver Jack Reservoir near Ridgway.
Courtesy Photo

Brett Shaw celebrated his daughter Charlee Shaw’s seventh birthday with love, cake and ice cream in June.

“She is doing well,” Brett said. “She is biking, running and jumping on the trampoline. We go on hikes, and she plays with her brothers and wrestles with them. She is doing really well from a physical standpoint.”

The celebration was a special moment for Brett, who feared his daughter would never see her next birthday.

On Christmas Eve, his wife, Sancy, and Charlee were driving back from a doctor’s appointment in Denver to see family in Evergreen when the sports utility vehicle they were in was struck by a driver who swerved across the median and collided with the Shaw vehicle. The driver, who had four previous drunk driving convictions, was under the influence of alcohol and marijuana at the time of the crash.

Sancy was killed, and Charlee was transported to Children’s Hospital in Aurora in critical condition. Charlee spent the next two months in the hospital as she underwent treatment and therapy for her injuries.

Charlee returned to the family’s home in Clark in February, but complications from a surgery in March to place a skull flap landed her back at Children’s Hospital. The skull flap is a manmade implant that replaced a part of Charlee’s skull, which had to be removed after the crash to relieve pressure on her brain.

It was another month before the Shaws were able to leave the confines of the hospital and celebrate a second homecoming.

In the months since, Brett has worked to create a new normal for his family and to do everything he can to help Charlee as she continues to recover.

“She can talk, but she just is not having conversations,” Brett said. “She can sit down for dinner, and she can say grace with us. She can say, ‘Dad I see a horse,’ or she asks me, ‘Where is grandpa?’ or ‘Where is grandma?’ But as far as sitting down and having a conversation, and her being able to express herself in that manner, it’s hard right now.”

Charlee has therapy four days a week, and a private speech therapist comes to the house.

“We are doing everything we can to help her though this process,” Brett said.

How to Help

Donations can be made to The Live Like Sancy — The Sancy Shaw Memorial Fund online or via check to the Yampa Valley Community Foundation, P.O. Box 881869, Steamboat Springs, CO, 80488. The memo line should reference “Live Like Sancy.”
Donations to the Sancy Shaw Memorial Account can be made at Yampa Valley Bank in Steamboat Springs.
GoFundMe page also has been set up to collect donations for the family.

Brett said Charlee recently returned from follow-up appointments at Children’s Hospital. She has progressed past the point where she needs to see the neurologist, occupational therapist and physical therapist. She will continue to follow up with neurosurgery, physiology and rehabilitation specialists for the next year.

“They were amazed,” Brett said. “They said when she left the hospital the first time, they would not have anticipated that she would be this far along … they are just amazed at how well she is doing.”

Brett has also been busy working to build his business, Timberline Contracting, and help his family heal and maintain Sancy’s memory through efforts like the Live Like Sancy — The Sancy Shaw Memorial Scholarship

“I am trying to find a balance between investing time in the business and spending time with the family,” Brett said. “My folks are living with me now, and they have been an absolute blessing — helping out with getting kids here and there or wherever they need to be.”

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