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Katy Mourns Beck Sandlin, 11, WoodCreek Junior High Inspiration


March 18, 2019

By Natalie Cook Clark

Eleven-year-old Beck Rothwell Sandlin, passed away on March 13 after a life-long struggle with severe cerebral palsy. Beck was the definition of determination as he worked to achieve both small and big goals in his treatment and development. His passion for life inspired many, and his loss impacts his family as well as the Katy community. Friends and family members plan to honor him this week.

Beck shows off his signature smile. Photo: Beck Sandlin's GoFundMe page

That Smile and Red, Wavy Hair

Beck's cerebral palsy left him left him unable to control his muscles. For most of his life he needed a wheelchair, was tube-fed and nonverbal. These challenges did not stop Beck from enjoying all that life had to offer. His expressive smile conveyed so much joy and happiness that people around him were able to celebrate his accomplishments with him.

"It was always a joy to see him with his thick, wavy red hair and incredible smile in the classroom, hallway and cafeteria at Shafer Elementary," say Fred and Patti Shafer, the namesakes for Shafer Elementary. "Beck had a special place in everyone’s heart at Shafer Elementary as I am sure he did at WoodCreek Junior High."

Fred and Patti Shafer sign Beck's yearbook at Shafer Elementary.

Disabilities Did Not Define Beck

The magic of Beck was found in never letting those disabilities define him. The challenges he overcame in life inspired so many. Beck was a model of persistence – he was a fighter to the very end. Loved ones recall that Beck fought through more adversity than most of us will ever know, and he did it with a smile every day.

Smiling Everything into Perspective

Those who were close to him said Beck’s smile was one of his most amazing features, noting that it was difficult to have a bad day, if it included a smile from Beck. He could change the mood with just one expression, from a snarky grin to a full-blown belly laugh, with everything in between.

A Love for Music and Books

According to his family, Beck loved music and stories. He loved anything written by Dr. Seuss or Arnold Lobel. He had just finished the Harry Potter series, and the Chronicles of Narnia. He also loved to be read to by his family and caretakers.

Survived by Family, Friends and a Community

Beck is survived by his parents, Bree and Stephen Sandlin; his twin brother, Elliott Sandlin; his maternal grandparents, G and Tito (Peggy and Pancho Prather); his paternal grandparents, Grammy and PawPaw (Tessa and John Sandlin); his Aunt Kate and cousins Bree Emily Mask, Garrett Mask, Raife Mask, and Luke Brown. He was loved by everyone at Shafer Elementary and WoodCreek Junior High, and anyone who met him.

Celebration of Life Details

A memorial service celebrating Beck's life will be held Thursday, March 21 at 3:00 p.m. at Faith United Methodist Church in Richmond. The family has requested for attendees to wear casual, non-black attire.

In lieu of flowers, a GoFundMe page has been created to support several small organizations without 501c3 status: Embrace Soccer and Shafer Elementary Special Buddies. "These organizations had a big impact on our life and Beck’s," says Beck's family. For taxable donations, the Sandlins have also chosen Project DOCC Houston, a 501c3 charity.

Beck left an impression on many people in the Katy community. "Thank you Beck, for making our life better and exemplifying real courage when faced with life challenges," says Patti Shafer. "We will miss you friend."

Share your stories of Beck Sandlin in the comments below.


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