Family hands out thousands of dollars in gift cards at Disney

Parents help others to honor son who passed away

By Jennifer Ortega - Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - A Tallahassee family printed out dozens of cards with a picture of their son, Miles, on them and stuffed them with gift cards to give to strangers at Disney World, on what would have been his fourth birthday.

The entire family went to Disney World to remember Miles, who died earlier this year from cancer. They said the Magic Kingdom was his happy spot.

"We came down here with $4,000 in gift cards, and on his birthday we went to his favorite place in the Magic Kingdom and kind of handed them out, kind of let Miles guide us," Matthew Shanaghan said.

Shanaghan said the family raised the money by selling T-shirts online after Miles died, to give back to the community and share awareness about pediatric cancer.

"Pediatric cancer is rare, but the symptoms for it, there really is none," he said.

He said Miles was diagnosed not long after he turned 3 years old, that he spent the last year of his life with the disease and died in February.

"No one prepares you to lose a child, you know. It was our first baby and, you know, and Louie's older brother," Shanaghan said.

Shanaghan said the cards the family gave out had gift cards inside, in amounts ranging from $25 to $150, and just giving them out to strangers on Miles' birthday has helped the family slowly heal. Now, they're focusing their energy on helping others.

"It's too late for Miles, but it's not too late for all these other kids. It doesn't end with him," he said.

The family has started a foundation in Miles' memory, Fight Like Miles, in which people can donate to pediatric cancer research.

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