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Remembering Sully …and his adventure

Former BEA student lived life to the fullest

By Staff | Jan 24, 2021

Sully McGuire and his family, brother Rylee, dad Ryan and mom Melissa are pictured at Camp Firefly in 2017.

The Blue Earth Area Schools and area community was saddened last month to learn that former BEA student Sullivan “Sully” McGuire, passed away on Monday, Dec. 28, 2020.

Sully was a student at BEA until the eighth grade when he and his family moved to Spencer, Iowa.

His family included his father, Ryan, and mother, Melissa, and older brother Rylee. Melissa McGuire is the former BEA Middle School/Elementary School principal.

Sully was 15 and a student at Spencer High School at the time of his death.

“Sully always considered himself a Blue Earth Area and Minnesota boy,” his mother Melissa says. “He loved to remind us of that.”

A group of Sully’s friends and former classmates at BEA were able to make a trip to Spencer, Iowa, to visit with their friend one last time. It was on Dec. 20, eight days before he passed away.

“He called them his brothers,” Melissa says. “He just lit up when they were here, and was wide awake for their visit. I think there were 12 10th graders who made the trip.”

She says the visit got all the memories flowing with days in Blue Earth, around town and with all the people at BEA schools.

“He was so much a part of the school,” Melissa relates. “He did things in the classrooms and found the school to be a safe environment.”

She says the family has been blessed to have had wonderful support for Sully both in Blue Earth Area and in Spencer.

“I really want to thank everyone for such great support for us, and for being a part of Sully’s Adventure. It wasn’t really a journey or a destination, it was an adventure.”

She says so many people, especially ones with medical issues, looked at Sully and what he did and thought to themselves, ‘if Sully can do that, then I can do the things I need to do.’

She adds that people often commented on Sully’s spunk, and said he was an inspiration to them.

A story in the Jan. 7, 2013, Faribault County Register told of a fundraiser for then second-grader Sully McGuire, relating he had recently been diagnosed with cancer.

Another story in a July 31, 2017, Medical Guide magazine in the Register reported Sully had been cancer-free for 16 months before it had returned for the then 12-year-old.

That story also related how the McGuire family had been given a trip to Camp Firefly in Pine Mountain, Georgia, operated by TV actor Kirk Cameron and his wife.

It was a great trip, Melissa says, one Sully talked about all the time.

“He just loved being there, and how Kirk Cameron’s sons treated him,” she recalls. “It was so good for him.”

Melissa says it gave him a new positive attitude, and a new way of living his life, despite his cancer.

“He really lived his life like an adventure,” Melissa explains. “He wanted to try things and see if he could do them or how he could do them, and whether he liked them or not. And then he would go on to the next thing.”

The family is happy for the time Sully was with them, but Melissa says it has been very difficult since Sully’s death. There have been things they have needed to do, and it has been hard to get them done.

“It is like there is a checklist, but it is so much more than a checklist, because there is so much emotion involved with what we need to do,” she explains. “It is not just do something, and check it off and move to the next thing. That is the case with everyone who loses a loved one, but it seems to be more so with the loss of a child.”

All the good memories of Sully do help, she adds. And the lesson he taught them and everyone else who knew him.

“He taught us to embrace life, and to cherish it,” Melissa says. “To live in the moment and love each experience and when it is done, to do it again, and not just be one and done.”