Leah Berenson
Leah Berenson
May 24, 2023 ·  4 min read

Shane McColgan, Teen Who Opened Food Pantry at Age Seven, Dies of Leukemia

Shane McColgan is an incredible young man from Massachusetts who made a hugely positive impact on his community and state. Although he’s been recognized nationwide for his amazing contributions, he’s most currently being mourned, having recently lost his battle with leukemia.

Shane McColgan was born on January 30th, 2007, and grew up in Carver, Massachusetts. At seven years old, his huge heart led him to find Shane Gives Thanks. He founded the food pantry because he believed “No one should go without.” Founded in 2014, the pantry has since helped thousands of families throughout the state of Massachusetts. Shane McColgan first saw a TV commercial about starving children in other countries and was even more saddened when he learned hunger was happening in his own community too.

Shane McColgan is Inspired

He set out to meet with family, friends, and eventually the community, asking for donations. Amazingly, he was able to fill 2,000 Holiday baskets for families and children in need. His drive to help the world didn’t end there; he continued to ponder all the starving people and how to help. As the fall of 2016 rolled around, he felt compelled to solve hunger for students during the school year. Thus, establishing the Peyton Pack Program, lovingly named after his sister.

Image Credit: Shane Gives Thanks | Erin McBrine Photography

Reaching Communities

The “Peyton Pack” would include two breakfasts, two lunches, a snack, some fruits and veggies, and juice. Enough to feed a child for the weekend was provided to kindergarteners through 5th graders. The $9 pack cost nothing for the school or families and was solely donation based. He continued to live out his dreams of changing the world, establishing a fully operational food pantry in the town of Carver, now offering food to other towns in Massachusetts. All that’s needed for the first visit is a utility bill and a Photo ID.

Shane McColgan Gains Recognition

Shane McColgan did some incredible things and was granted countless awards, such as the South Shore Community Action Council Local Hero Award, Magnify a Micro Business Award, and a Hula Frog Most Loved Local Charity Award in 2017 and 2018. In addition to other awards, he’s also been recognized by the US House of Representatives and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. “I feel like I’m doing something great in my life. I am overjoyed to help people,” Shane said in 2020.

Facing his Biggest Hurdle

Sadly, in December 2021, Shane was rushed to the hospital, despite having no previous symptoms or conditions. After several days in the ICU, he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Leukemia known as Acute Myeloid Leukemia. This form of cancer impacts blood and bone marrow, and early signs are similar to those of the flu. Other symptoms may include frequent infections, bone pain, shortness of breath and fatigue, pale skin, or frequent bruising.

This type of condition occurs when the bone marrow produces immature cells that don’t function properly; they become leukemic white blood cells. Or myeloblasts and eventually become more predominant than healthy cells. Although it’s unknown what causes Shane McColgan’s condition, medical experts do some factors that are thought to increase one’s risk. Some factors include aging, previous dispositions to cancer or other blood conditions, or prolonged exposure to harsh toxins.

Unexpected and Difficult Terrain

At just 14 years old, the young man who fought to bring hope and resources to his community was now facing his toughest battle yet. “He’s fighting for his life, so he’s been in intensive care. Yesterday was a big setback. He had a massive brain bleed, and it required emergency brain surgery. He’s made it, but the next 24 to 48 hours is critical.” His aunt, Monica Cole explained at the time of his diagnosis.

Tragically, at just 16 years old, he passed away on May 17th, 2023. According to his obituary, he also had a condition known as Bronchial Obliterans lung disease, or “popcorn lung.” The respiratory condition affects bronchioles, the smallest airways in the lungs. The airways become inflamed and damaged, leaving behind severe scarring. Oftentimes, symptoms mirror those similar to a cold or flu such as coughing, fatigue, shortness of breath, or night sweats.

Shane McColgan is Lost but Never Forgotten

Shane McColgan is remembered for more than just his amazing contributions. He’s remembered by family, teachers, and peers as a huge football fan, a WW2 history buff, and an active member of his school’s Track and Field Team. He was treated at the Boston Children’s Hospital Oncology / Transplant and requested his lungs be donated to help medical experts study and better understand Bronchial Obliterans.

Shane McColgan’s family worked to maintain the food pantry and “Peyton Pack” program throughout his battle. And, continuing to do so, have asked loved ones to donate to Shane’s organization, rather than send flowers.

Keep Reading: Baby With Red Birthmark Called ‘Hideous’ And ‘Defective’, But Wait till You See This Beautiful Child Now


  1. Shane McColgan, Carver boy who opened food pantry that serves thousands, dies of leukemia.CBS. May 18, 2023.
  2. Carver Boy Who Opened Food Pantry That Serves Thousands Is Now Battling Leukemia.CBS. January 3, 2022.
  3. Shane Gives Thanks, Inc. Food Pantry.” Shane Gives Thanks
  4. Shane McColgan’s Obit.Shepherd Funeral
  5. Acute myelogenous leukemia.” Mayo Clinic
  6. Popcorn Lung (Bronchiolitis Obliterans) Cleveland Clinic