Remembering Meghan Gannon

At a very young age, Meghan Gannon was diagnosed with a rare degenerative neuromuscular disease. She had special education services at Kings Highway Elementary, Coleytown Middle and Staples High Schools.

Meghan Gannon with her brothers, Bryan and Dillon.

But you’d have been hard pressed to know anything was wrong.

Meghan was irrepressible. She skied, did ballet, and was a Girl Scout.

She was lively, with a tremendous sense of humor. She never felt sorry for herself, and always cared about others.

Meghan went to the Staples Class of 2016 senior prom, then graduated a few days later.

Meghan Gannon: Proud Class of 2016 Staples High School graduate.

But her disease caught up with her. She soon had trouble chewing and swallowing. She was hospitalized twice that summer.

On September 10, 2016, she entered the hospital again. She was put on a ventilator, and got a feeding tube. She underwent many procedures. She fought off pneumonia.

After stints in Yale’s pediatric, neurological and medical ICUs, she was moved to Gaylord Special Health Care Hospital in Wallingford. She was there from December until last month. On August 21, Meghan died.

But — as tragic as it is to lose someone so young — Meghan’s mother Sue wants to make sure her daughter’s life is remembered for its spirit, perseverance and love.

Meghan Gannon

“She was extraordinary,” Sue says. “She never stopped smiling. She never complained or cried. She was resilient and strong. She was the most inspiring person I’ve ever known — and I said that even when she was a little girl.”

That’s not just a mom speaking.

Her wake in Westport was filled with Meghan’s admirers. Her kindergarten teacher came. So did the Gaylord staff, and her ambulance driver.

The director of a youth program at the Wilton YMCA spoke at the service. Meghan had been a counselor in training there for several years. The woman described the many lives Meghan touched.

“I never knew the impact she had on all those other kids,” Sue says. “She was a tiny thing, and quiet. But she was very fierce. Whenever a bar was set, Meghan rose above it.”

After her hospitalization last September, Meghan could not speak. She communicated by writing. But she never lost her sense of humor. Sue laughs as she remembers Meghan summoning a nurse. Meghan showed her a text she’d written — and translated into German.

Hospital tubes did not dampen Meghan Gannon’s smile and spirits.

Each day when Sue visited, she says, “Meghan wanted to know about my day. She never asked, ‘Why me?'”

Meghan’s bulldog Hoagie was the light of her life. He often visited other Gaylord patients. Sue promised her that Hoagie would be trained as a therapy dog.

Meghan Gannon, with Hoagie.

Sue also promised her daughter that she would live life as she did.

“We all complain about the little things that happen every day,” Sue says.

“But she had such joy out of life. She loved Broadway shows, and the Italian food on Arthur Avenue. She had an incredible sense of humor, literally to the end of her life.

“She was an inspiration to a lot of people. And she truly was an inspiration to me.”

(Contributions in Meghan’s memory may be made to the Gaylord Specialty Health Care Hospital, 50 Gaylord Farm Road, Wallingford, CT, or the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation, 8085 Saltsburg Road, Suite 201, Pittsburgh, PA 15239.)

10 responses to “Remembering Meghan Gannon

  1. Incredible story of such strength at a young age. I wish i had met her. Maybe there is somewhere in Westport we can plant a tree, put a memorial stone or something so frienss amd family can commemmorate her and have a place to go. Id be happy to donate if something like this is done. Best wishes to her family and friends.

  2. Angela Simpson

    Meghan was a ray of sunshine at Staples High School, and I was privileged to have her in my classroom. I never saw her without a smile in the halls. Her loss is crushing, but as Sue says, Meghan continues to inspire us to be our best and follow her example of kindness and joy. Thank you, Meghan; you are dearly missed.

  3. What a touching story! God bless this beautiful gal, Meghan.

  4. So well done, Dan. Thank you.

    Colin Neenan Co-Librarian, Staples High School Westport, CT

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  5. What an amazing young woman! My heart goes out to her family for their loss. Meghan obviously lived her life to the fullest. We should all take inspiration from Meghan!

  6. Meghan was the Princess of Partrick Lane. For those of us who live here, she was a smiling presence who made fast friends with all of the neighborhood dogs. She was an inspiration to all of us and we will all miss her greatly.

  7. God bless you, Darling. Rest well.

  8. Thank you for this inspiring story. God bless Meghan. My condolences to her family and friends.

  9. I was very lucky to know Meghan, with her determined strength and ever-present smile. Her mother is an inspiration to me. She’s one of the strongest women I know. Meghan’s brother, Bryan, gave an extraordinary eulogy for his sister. Rest assured, Sue, your daughter will be remembered with endless love.

  10. I looked forward to working with Meghan every Friday at Unified Sports. She would always walk in with a smile that would light up the room. We always had the best time laughing and playing sports that we both admittedly weren’t very good at. I will miss Meghan’s contagious laugh. Rest in Peace.