Indiana teen who started café to help special education students continues helping others even after death

Chad Keown: September 25, 2000 to April 12, 2018

SHARPSVILLE, Ind. – Last year we told you about a very special teen who used his one “wish” to help others despite his own ailments. Sadly, Chad Keown, 17, passed away last week.

The teen was born with multiple heart defects. He’s had three open heart surgeries, among other surgeries. And he had a near death experience in December 2015.

But he was resilient; he was a fighter; he defied all odds.

Slowly but surely, Chad started getting better, learning to walk, talk and eat all over again. It was then, doctors sent him to the Indiana Children’s Wish Fund. He was granted one wish, which he used to create a mobile coffee cart for Tri-Central High School.

The mobile café is designed to help special education students learn valuable skills for work and life.

Chad had plans to take the coffee cart to sporting events and bring the idea to other schools for their special education students.

But unexpectedly, Chad passed away last week.

Chad’s mom Lisa told CBS4 he was doing so well and working on his driver’s license. “He was completely out of the wheelchair and was so happy and seemed healthy.”

The night he passed away, everything seemed normal. He was playing his PlayStation, asking what was for dinner.

Before dinner he went to the bathroom and locked the door, which isn’t unusual.

Lisa said she and her husband kept yelling for him, but he didn’t answer. They knew something was wrong, so they picked the lock and found him face down and unresponsive.

They immediately began performing CPR, but unfortunately, he passed away.

Lisa says because of their CPR efforts, Chad was able to donate his lungs and liver.

“That is what Chad would want to do – keep on giving,” Lisa said.

Chad’s funeral is this evening, and his burial will be in Union Cemetery, Eaton, Indiana at 11 a.m. on Wednesday.

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