Paul Shoun Dean Simmons Jr
May 10, 1993 to April 29, 2011
Paul Shoun Dean Simmoms Jr was born May 10, 1993 to Paul Simmons and Vera Angion at Christ Hospital and Medical Center at 12:49 a.m. He weighted 6 lbs 8 oz. I called him " God's Child", because he was a miracle to his father and I. I was not supposed to get pregnant because I had my tubes tied. Nine months later when I went into labor, I had a cesarean section because he never turned into the birthing postion. My "Miracle" came into the world! I found his babysitter two weeks before I went back to work. Her name was Bernice Jefferson and she took care of my son as if he was her own child. He called her "Grandmom" and her husband "Papa". At the age of 3 he went to Buddyland Child Care and his teachers loved him so much. That smile caught everyone's eye.
When he graduated from Buddyland Day Care we enrolled Paul at St. Margaret of Scotland, in Chicago, through 5th grade. During that time Paul was in the Boy Scouts. Due to financial difficulties we had to send Paul to CICS Basil Charter school in Chicago. This is where Paul started to play basketball. Paul went to CICS through 7th grade. It was during that summer, that he attened Marist High School's summer basketball camp and met Coach Nolan. He told Coach Nolan, his father, and I that he wanted to attend Marist and play basketball there.
We were able to send Paul back to St. Margaret's for 8th grade. He took the entrance exam for Marist and was admitted! Paul was very happy and we were very proud of him!
Paul attended Marist High School all four years. He started playing basketball freshman year and eventually became varsity captain of the Redhawks basketball team. He also worked in the cafeteria. I remember that he would come home from school and tell me the ladies who worked in the cafeteria told him not to bring a lunch. They really liked him and told him they would feed him. The lunch ladies loved Paul. He was so polite and helpful. Some of the students at Marist remember Paul, in the cafeteria. They told me that if he saw them looking like they didn't like what they brought from home to eat, he would offer to buy them lunch if they saw something better. He always went out of his way for others.
He loved going Marist and was so proud of himself for accomplishing something he never thought possible. He came in 2nd place on the Homecoming court in his senior year. He love the game of basketball and was growing up to be a fine young man!
Paul worked at Sport 37 Summer Program as an intern in landscaping. He also loved working at Mt Greenwood Park with park supervisor Mr. John. The feeling was mutual, Mr. John loved my son. He always said Paul was very mannerable and polite. Mr. John said that every night before Paul would get ready to leave, he would go to Mr. John and ask him if he had something else for him to do before leaving for the night.
Paul was looking forward to going to the annual "Senior Lock In" at Marist. This was something he waited four years for. The graduation activities were beginning and he was looking forward to all of them. On April 28th, 2011 I called him to see where he was. He said he was near the school vacuming his car. I asked him to call his dad when he was finished so that we could all meet at home around the same time. We wanted to watch a DVD of him playing ball that Coach Nolan gave him. We ate dinner and talked about the prom that was coming up. Paul and his date Kayla were going to go out that Saturday and finish getting what they needed for the event. He finished getting ready for the lock in, gave me a kiss and a hug, and told me that he loved me. He said he would see me in the morning and gave his dad a "hi five". I remember his dad saying "Go so you don't get a speeding ticket, and be safe."
At about 11:00 pm the school called and said my son had collapsed. They said an ambulance was on the way and that we could go to the school or meet at the hospital. We went to the school as fast as we could. The ambulance was there and Paul was inside of it. I remember trying to pull on the door of the ambulance and it was locked. What happened next is a blur. The ambulance left first, then the police car , the firetruck, and our car. By the time we got out of the car my son was already in the hospital his dad went to park the car. I was talking to the young lady at the front desk and she said I needed to call the chaplain. I was not really understanding what she was saying, Paul's dad was in the waiting room and they took us to Paul. He had passed away. We stayed there with him. The chaplain and a doctor came in and told us that our son had died of a disease called Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM). They said it was a thickening of his heart. He was pronounced dead on April 29th, 2011 at 12:09 am at Advocate Christ Medical Center. The same place where he was born "A Child of God."