On Friday politicians, astronauts, family and friends gathered at Washington National Cathedral to say good-bye to astronaut Neil Armstrong, who died in Cincinnati on August 24 at the age of 82. Sitting among the famous faces in the crowd was fourteen-year-old Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center patient Shane DiGiovanna.
Shane attended the service at the invitation of the Armstrong family, which has created a fund at Cincinnati Children’s in Armstrong’s name. The family learned about Shane from astronauts Eugene Cernan and James Lovell, who met him at a hospital event last month announcing the Neil Armstrong New Frontiers Initiative.
Shane was born with Epidermolysis Bullosa, a condition that creates fragile skin that constantly blisters and tears. The condition requires him to have large parts of his body bandaged daily.
Shane dreamed of becoming an astronaut like his hero Neil Armstrong, but his rare skin condition will not allow that, so he wants to become an astrophysicist and aerospace engineer at NASA instead. After Friday’s service in Washington, he told a USA Today reporter he has been going through a lot of hand surgeries to help realize his dreams and hopes to contribute to the next giant step for mankind — landing on Mars.
Meet this future space hero in the making.
Learn more about the Neil Armstrong New Frontiers Initiative Memorial Fund at Cincinnati Children’s.