Student cancer journey provides hope for others

BrenShavia Jordan | Broadcast Reporter

Shawn Helms Jr. was an active Baylor student who loved the community and his Intramural sports team “Tune Squad.” He was a regular college student enjoying life until back pain led to a fatal discovery.

The pain quickly became unbearable and Sean decided to seek medical help. After a visit to the hospital, he was told to buy a new mattress and he would be okay. After the pain continued, he returned to receive an x-ray where it was revealed his lungs were full of fluid. At first, it seemed like a case of pneumonia.

Shawn’s sister Noelle remembers the time leading to his diagnosis.

“They said the amount of pain he was enduring was more than humans can usually take,” Noelle said. “They drained his lungs as best they could and sent it off to be tested for all kinds of cancer this time. We waited and waited [and] about a week later we found out it was Melanoma.”

Melanoma is a skin cancer that develops when melanocytes start to grow out of control. When they received Shawn’s report, he was already at stage four. Pain only worsened and doctors did their best to put him at ease.

“His medicine was mostly for his pain,” Noelle said. “They had to put tubes in his body to drain his lungs so they wouldn’t keep filling up. He was pretty much [always] in the hospital.”

Although Shawn had stage four cancer, he still had a message of hope for the ones around him.

“He sat down and talked to my dad and was like, I know the outcome of my sickness is going to be for the greater good of God kingdom, even if that means I’m no longer here anymore,” Noelle said.

Those words Shawn spoke were true. A few days after his passing, his family started a non-profit foundation, Helms Hope. This foundation is in hopes Shawn’s story alive and educate others on Melanoma.

“It is a preventable cancer if you catch it early enough. Once caught too late, it’s really deadly,” Noelle said.

After Shawn’s death, his Intramural football team, ‘Tune Squad,’ reunited and played a game in his honor. They even ended up winning the men’s intramural flag football recreational division championship.

Noelle shares a word of inspiration she believes her brother would want others to know.

“I think he would want people to know we are not here to serve each other. No matter what your situation is, the Lord is so good, and He does no evil. Life is really hard and there is a bunch of stuff going on… [but] praise Him because everything He does is for the good of his kingdom.”

For more information on the Helm Foundation visit: