Sean and I officially started dating in March 2009. On our first date, he walked me past his firehouse, Ladder 2 in downtown Philadelphia. Sean was always very proud to be a Philadelphia Firefighter, which was obvious from that first night. We fell in love and our relationship became serious pretty quickly. We moved in together and soon learned that Sean Jr. was on his way. Sean and I would slow dance in our living room and blow kisses to each other from across the room. Sean was 40 and I was 31 when we met, we both waited a long time to find each other and were the perfect match. We were married on October 21, 2011 and about a year later, found out we were expecting our second child. Our happily ever after was just beginning and it seemed as if all of our dreams were coming true.
Shortly after learning I was pregnant with our second child, Sean began to feel symptoms of what we thought was Hepatitis. On November 1, 2012 Sean was officially diagnosed with Cholangiocarcinoma (bile duct cancer), we learned that the tumor was inoperable and twice the size for a liver transplant. At this time, Sean was 44 years-old. We had been married for one year; Sean Jr. was 18 months old and I was eight weeks pregnant with our second child. During that very first hospitalization at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, we decided that if the baby was a girl, she would be named Faith. We needed to have “Faith” and believe Sean was going to beat cancer in spite of very overwhelming odds. Faith Marie Hogan was born on June 10, 2013 and gave us so much hope. As weak and sick as Sean was, he was in the delivery room and so proud of his baby girl.
During Sean’s battle with cancer, he endured twelve rounds of chemotherapy, twenty-five sessions of radiation treatment, seven endoscopic procedures and numerous hospital stays. It seemed as if everything that could possibly go wrong with Sean’s type of cancer did. However, in September 2013, we learned that the procedures and therapies to help shrink the tumor worked enough that his surgeon could operate. All of our prayers were being answered. Sean survived an intense 18 hour surgery, but sadly I lost him during recovery forty-eight hours later in the Intensive Care Unit on September 23, 2013.
Sean had more friends than most people and his personality was not one easily forgotten. His death has had a profound effect on all of us. Always upbeat, frequently cocky, Sean had an innate ability to light up a room just by walking in. I often felt as if I were treading water and, at times, almost drowning while caring for Sean and our two very small children. My intention with starting this Foundation is to help alleviate some of the burden other families in similar situations experience by providing funds to assist them with childcare expenses. The goal is to let Sean’s light continue to shine by helping other families be SEANstrong. I know that my husband would be proud of our cause.