“After my father was diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) in 2010, it was still out of sight, out of mind,” said Stephen Shanton. “I knew about ALS. I’d heard about it before, but I didn’t know the nitty gritty and then when I saw him three months later and to see his deterioration, well it just scared the heck out of me. I pulled in the reins on my business and went back to my parents’ home in Virginia to help care for my dad. And literally, two years to the month from when he was diagnosed, he passed.”
Shanton, the president and founder of Venture Construction Group, a multistate commercial and residential enterprise, knew he had to be with his father; his company’s team would be compelled to carry on without him, while he and his mother comforted his courageous father and the three confronted the ravaging disease, for which there is no known cure, each day.
And each day, Martin Shanton’s battle with the devil that is ALS, ended with the devil robbing the elder Shanton of the use of one more muscle and one more movement and inevitably, his final breath. Martin Shanton, a Marine (Once a Marine, Always a Marine), husband and father, let his wishes be known in terms befitting his Corps pedigree; when he drew his last breath, it would be under his own power, without the assistance of a ventilator. Martin Shanton’s story could have ended with his passing. His son, who cared for his father 12 hours each day, grieved, but he would not succumb to grief. Stephen Shanton has dedicated his philanthropic energy to finding a cure for ALS.
Recently, at the Kendra Scott jewelry store at Mizner Park in Boca Raton, supporters of the ALS Association Florida Chapter and holiday shoppers sipped wine and champagne and purchased necklaces, rings, bracelets and earrings. They designed custom creations at the store’s “Color Bar” that were in turn crafted by the pleasant and talented store associates, who guided customers through the unique process, at the bright and soothingly lit Florida flagship store. At an interactive wall-mounted screen, guests honed their artistic talents, choosing stones, color, shapes and settings. Kendra Scott’s signature Naomi Ring was a popular choice; its three stones of your choosing, embracing three fingers of your hand, in a double finger ring design. Kendra Gives Back is the charitable department of Kendra Scott that hosts numerous philanthropic events at its stores throughout the United States. More than $2,500 was raised at the Kendra Gives Back party to support ALS research, which was made possible by the sponsorship of Stephen Shanton and Kendra Scott’s donation of 20 percent of the evening’s proceeds.
“I’m a Marine. I’m a warrior. I’m going to beat this,” were the words spoken by a father, Martin Shanton to his son Stephen. And in many ways he did; for he imbued his son with the same determination and courage to carry on the fight to find a cure for ALS. “He fought it until his last breath,” said Stephen Shanton, a selfless son who confronts his loss each day, hoping only that others may one day be cured.