Sean Patrick Sullivan, 46, passed away peacefully and surrounded by his family on Sunday, February 6, 2022. Lovingly referred to as ‘SP,’ Sean fought a life-long battle against Cystic Fibrosis with a fierce determination and a calm strength, finally succumbing to the disease due to Covid-related complications. Sean was the oldest of 6 siblings, and from a young age, he unknowingly set out on a path that eventually saw him obliterate the expectations of his doctors and specialists, as well as modern medicine, in regards to his diagnosis. He defied the odds every chance he got, playing sports throughout his childhood and well into high school. He immersed himself in the culture of the city he loved and the city that loved him back. SP was an avid Chicago sports and music fan, becoming a regular fixture at Comiskey Park and the United Center, as well as the Aragon Ballroom and the Vic Theater. He loved Wilco, Pearl Jam, U2, the White Sox and Blackhawks in equal measure, and never missed a chance to see a show, hit a festival, or grab tickets to a game.
A defining moment in Sean’s life happened at the age of 39, when he was blessed with a new pair of lungs that he received through a transplant at Loyola Medical Center. This selfless gift from a loving donor changed the course of Sean’s life when he needed it most. Finally able to breathe easy for the first time in decades, Sean approached each new day with a renewed vigor and charisma that inspired every person who met him. He took on the responsibility of being a donor recipient with a serious sense of duty and purpose. He became a dedicated advocate for the Donate Life movement. He spoke with other Cystic Fibrosis survivors, as well as parents of younger children afflicted with the disease, about the importance of facing the obstacles in front of them with faith and resilience, even in the worst of times. Sean was living proof that hope was a necessary part of survival, and his goal was to imbue that same sense of hope that saved his life with those still waiting for their own miracle. In this, he succeeded many times over. He shared his transplant journey at CF events, through his social media accounts, and in countless other interactions over the years. He trained for and participated multiple times in the annual Hustle Up the Hancock charity stair climb for lung health as part of a team of CF transplant recipients and his lung care team from Loyola.
Sean’s singular focus on honoring his donor family’s sacrifice was monumental, and matched only by his enormous heart. He loved his gigantic extended family and ever-growing circle of friends openly, easily, and without end. He drew constant strength from the knowledge that he was a part of something bigger, and his near-perfect attendance at family outings, reunions, ballgames, pub sessions, concerts, and any other setting where shenanigans were sure to take place, only reinforced the core tenet he seemed to live by: cherish the ones you love, get together whenever you can, and love them hard. In this, he also succeeded many times over.