Find Hope

Running the L.A. Dodgers means nothing if my son is dead.

"I had a team to help win a championship. I felt like there were more important things, unfortunately [than my son]. When I say that now, it makes me sick to my stomach."


Shawn’s Mother: I think we were really close, especially with Kevin being on the road a lot. We kind of were alone a lot. He did karate. He did basketball, football, golf. He did all the different sports. He enjoyed them.

Kevin Malone / Shawn’s Father: To be completely honest, what it was like when Shawn was born was I was basically focused on other things. I had things to do. I had players to scout. I had a team to help win a championship. I felt like there were more important things, unfortunately, when I say that now, it makes me sick to my stomach. I think back about being gone all of the time and really not thinking much about it, thinking I was a good father because I was providing and giving them all of the things that they wanted. I didn’t realize until much later that what they wanted was me.

Shawn’s Sister: Shawn hid his lifestyle very well. It wasn’t until the very end when things started becoming more noticeable.

Shawn’s Mother: Shawn started getting into drugs probably in high school. I knew he was up to something.

Shawn’s College friend: I think the norm for most people is to start exploring with substances and alcohol. There’s a lot of pressure to fit in, but I think the overall norm is to start dabbling and experimenting to just see what else is out there beyond the family household.

Kevin Malone / Shawn’s Father: When he got to USC, it was full blown chaos. These are kids that had resources, had money. They had all the drugs and all the alcohol so it escalated.

Shawn’s College friend: How could we just do anything to not be with ourselves? Because I am not comfortable just being me. The more that you do this, the greater the tolerance gets, so that means you have to take more and more to achieve the same desired effect. That’s why it’s so dangerous because you’re chasing a feeling, and I believe that the feeling you are chasing is actually you’re seeking a spiritual experience. There’s got to be something more going on.

Tracy / Family Friend: I don’t think Kevin wanted to talk because (I’m guessing, it’s my words) but there has to be some shame. In my friendship with Kevin, I know how much he cared about Shawn. I know how much he loved him and how guilty he felt being gone when he was in baseball. I’m sure he put a lot of the blame on himself, the fact that he was struggling with an addiction and didn’t want anybody to know.

Kevin Malone / Shawn’s Father: Maybe me being gone so much created a loneliness or a void in his life that I wasn’t the father that he needed.

Shawn’s Mother: He totaled four cars in the span of about four or five years, maybe, but never had a scratch on him. He felt he was invincible, which was part of the problem with him.

Kevin Malone / Shawn’s Father: Being like me, living on the edge, feeling he was invincible, he was living like he didn’t care if he died or not.

Shawn’s Mother: We were living in Santa Monica. I knew Shawn had taken some drugs. I didn’t want him driving because I didn’t want him to hurt anybody else, so he quickly grabbed the keys and started to run out of the house, and Kevin ran after him.

Kevin Malone / Shawn’s Father: I knew he had some drugs on him, but I knew he had a lot of drugs in his car, and he was leaving, and I wasn’t ready to deal with that. He runs out the door and grabbed his keys. I knew he was taking off, so I chased him outside on the driveway and said, “Give me those keys. Give me the drugs if you have any on you.” We wrestled, and we were wrestling back and forth, and he ended up throwing me on the ground.

Shawn’s Mother: It was horrible because Kevin came in crying. He couldn’t believe Shawn would do that to him. Just push him aside like that and go on, for drugs.

[911 Emergency]

Emergency Responder: 911 Emergency

Kevin Malone / Shawn’s Father: Yeah my son is like choking, and he’s not waking up.

Emergency Responder: Is he turning blue?

Kevin Malone / Shawn’s Father: No. Not yet.

Emergency Responder: Do you know him?

Kevin Malone / Shawn’s Father: Yeah, he’s my son.

Shawn’s Brother: I was on my way to England. I got a call from Mom. She said, “Hey, Peter, you need to come and say goodbye to Shawn. We don’t know if he will make it through the night.” So I flew back, and I went to the hospital. He was at St. Johns. He was just gone in some way.

Tracy / Family Friend: I’ll never forget walking into the room and to see Shawn, laying in the bed with the tubes and lifeless.

Shawn’s Sister: I believe they had said that once I had got there that he had done drugs, and he was unconscious and not breathing for a long time so there was a loss of oxygen to his brain. They told me that Shawn probably is not going to make it.

Francis Chan / Family Friend: When I first saw Shawn in the hospital, it’s one of those things as a Dad where I’ve got my little girl with me and my first thought is, “Wow, is she ready to see this? I didn’t realize it was going to look this bad.”

Ellie Chan / Francis Chan’s daughter: I wanted to cry. It was just so weird. I wasn’t used to that. When I saw him it looked like he was dead.

Kevin Malone / Shawn’s Father: So I went out into the waiting room and just started praying. I started calling every man of God, every woman of God I knew. Texting, emailing, “Pray for my son.” The words were that we don’t think he’s going to make it. Something is wrong. He is dying. Everything is shutting down. He’s got pneumonia, all of his vitals, they’re, they’re shutting down. We don’t think we can save him. We don’t know what’s going to happen. It doesn’t look good, so I’m not going to stay in there and watch him die.

Shawn’s Mother: It was kind of surreal in that I was doing something that I had assumed that at one point I would have to do.

Dr. Cliff Segil / Neurologist: These are MRI’s obtained on Shawn from July 6th, 2013, at St. Johns Hospital. These are all little strokes in his brain. These changes are consistent with what we call an anoxic brain injury. At the time Shawn was in the hospital, he was the USC kid that overdosed. Across the hall was the UCLA kid that overdosed. It’s unpleasant when patients die. I don’t sleep that night.

Dr. Alan Weintraub / Brain Injury Medical Director: When we admitted Shawn, almost thirty days after his injury, he was still in a state of profound impaired consciousness. He was completely paralyzed. He was one hundred percent dependent on others for his care.

Shawn’s Mother: At first you just kind of go blank when they tell you that your son is gone. My thought was that he doesn’t know the Lord. I can’t imagine my son in hell. What really broke my heart was that there was no hope for him if he couldn’t come out of that, so my prayer then became, “God if he knows you, take him home. If he doesn’t know you, I want a full miracle. I need this.”

Kevin Malone / Shawn’s Father: The doctors were telling us we don’t think he’s going to make it.

Shawn’s Mother: He could wake up and be a vegetable and that Shawn wouldn’t want to live like this.

Shawn’s Sister: It’s best after thirty days to pull the plug on him, so that was really tough.

Dr. Alan Weintraub / Brain Injury Medical Director: Unfortunately, when your life changes in a moment, the grief is unimaginable. Twenty-two years old is just too young to die.

Francis Chan / Family Friend: As a Pastor, it felt like I was doing a funeral every month at least, sometimes several because things just end suddenly, unexpectedly.

Shawn’s Brother: I couldn’t understand why, why God could do that. You knew there was something ahead for him, but all of a sudden you saw the end just right there in front of you. That was really difficult for me to watch the family that you've known that protected him, that loved him that much, that they had come to the end of his life.

Tracy / Family Friend: I remember Kevin praying that evening. We were beside his bed. There was a tear that came out of Shawn’s eye. Now, you have to understand, he is lifeless. The doctors are saying he is brain dead. There’s nothing there. He’s gone.

Ellie Chan / Francis Chan’s daughter: He started to cry, and it was weird. I thought he wasn’t supposed to do anything. All of a sudden tears were coming out of his eyes. I was like, “Wow.”

Tracy / Family Friend: Any cough, any blinking of the eye, you know, there are textbooks that are going to say it’s just reactionary. I felt that evening that he was communicating to his dad because his dad was so broken, and he loved him so, so much. He was just crying out, “God, save my son! Just, just save my son!”

Shawn’s Mother: There was a tech in there with Shawn. They would talk to him just like he was there and able to speak back. That’s what happened. He spoke back to her, scared her to death.

Shawn Malone: My name is Shawn Malone. My age is twenty-five years old. Back in college I was getting straight A’s and doing drugs at the same time. My parents said I was in a coma for two months. I didn’t think I was broken, but I was, back in the day. I thought there was a God, but I didn’t have a relationship with him.

Shawn’s Mother: There're many wonderful people that we know that have lost their children to drugs, so are we deserving? No. God just blessed our life to give us Shawn back.

Shawn’s Brother: I saw him literally gone, gone. All I could hear were machines. To see him smile, walk, finish school, and go to church with us…I can’t believe he is here.

Shawn Malone: I want to say thank you for my Dad saving me when I was not breathing and my Mom for fighting so hard to just be with me every day. Amazing.

What would you have done if I had died?

Kevin Malone / Shawn’s Father: I probably would have died, too.

Francis Chan / Family Friend: The physical story of Shawn is great, but I think the spiritual story is so much greater and way, way more important because we are all going to die. That’s a guarantee. Now, spiritual life isn’t a guarantee because once you die, it’s over. The question is, “What comes after, and can you be sure of that?”

Question to Shawn: Did you see Heaven?

Shawn Malone: No, I did not. That would have been cool to see it, though, but I didn’t.

Shawn’s Mother: A lot of people want to know what he saw in the coma, if he saw God or if he went to Heaven. Really, Shawn saw nothing. God came down to Shawn.

Shawn Malone: I was in the hospital, and I was with my Dad. I asked for forgiveness of my sins, and I asked Jesus Christ to come into my life. I was so close to God. It was amazing. It was like He was my friend.

Francis Chan / Family Friend: Jesus is so different from all of these other gods or religions. For one, the fact that He reached down and lowered himself and suffered for my sake. The other big one is that He says, “I’m going to die, and I’m going to rise from the dead,” and then He pulled it off. You think about the disciples who, they ran away when He was crucified, but then when they saw that He literally rose from the dead, now suddenly these men are filled with this courage. Like He really does have power over death. So it’s great that Shawn’s walking around laughing, but it’s far, far more important to me that he knows God now, and he’s going to be with Him forever.

Shawn’s Mother: You know what happens from here on in is fine with me. I can deal with it because I know where he is going.

Kevin Malone / Shawn’s Father: I never thought we’d be doing this, a year and a half to two years ago.

Shawn: Yep

Kevin Malone / Shawn’s Father: I thank God that we can play catch again.

Shawn: Yeah

Kevin Malone / Shawn’s Father: [pats his ball glove] Right here.

Kevin Malone - Running the L.A. Dodgers means nothing if my son is dead.

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