Anthony Shawn Adam Wilander
October 23, 1993 – July 18, 2020
It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Anthony on July 18, 2020. Anthony was loved dearly and will be mourned by his loving parents Celina and Jack; brothers Mike (Teri), Alex his nephew Luke. Maternal Grandma Margaret, Auntie Gina and Uncle Gene, cousins Danielle, Bryan and Aiden. Paternal Grandma Diane, Grandpa Jack Senior, Auntie Kerry, Uncle George and cousin Jeramy. His friends Chrisy McIntrye, Brandon Portas, and Skylar Dyck.
Anthony was a loving son, brother, cousin, grandson, nephew, uncle and a good friend! He always put others needs first. He had a beautiful heart and soul. He will forever be remembered by family and friends.
Anthony Wilander was born on October 23, 1993 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He was born with a congenital heart defect; life was never fair to him! He has been fighting for life since the day he was born.
Anthony was the definition of a walking miracle. He was born with two holes in his heart, his heart was on the right side of his chest and he would easily turn blue due to lack of oxygen in his blood. We had to decide whether to let him go or try an operation with no guarantee that he would live much longer. Anthony had the operation at 3 days old. There was no Children’s Heart Specialist in Winnipeg, but there was one in Edmonton or Toronto. We chose to move to Edmonton as my sister and family lived in Sherwood Park. We then flew out to the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton to see the heart specialist. We returned to Winnipeg on November 18, 1993. We celebrated his first Christmas in Winnipeg. In January 1994, during a regular children’s Heart check-up, we were told that Anthony had to be admitted because the holes in his heart were closing. He was on palliative care in the Children’s Hospital in Winnipeg. We lived in the same room with Anthony so we could spend whatever time he had left together. Auntie Kerry and Grandma Diane were always there with us every chance they had. After fighting this we moved from Winnipeg to the Stollery Hospital for Anthony to start his new life in Sherwood Park, Alberta. He was in the hospital for the month of June 1994 to ween him off the Morphine before he could come home. He had a Heart Transplant on December 13, 2000 when he was seven years old. Anthony had a kidney transplant at 17 years old on December 7, 2010 which was donated by his dad. His dad wanted him to live life to the fullest, and to be free to do whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted. We didn’t want him to be stuck at home on dialysis for 12 hours a day, where he wouldn’t be able to go out anywhere or stay out late with friends.
He was a stubborn baby and always wanted things his way. When he was a baby, he had an NG tube in his nose for feeding and tried to take it out even with mittens on his hands. It was a constant fight to keep the O2 tube in your nose as he always found a way to take it out. Every time we would see the doctor for a visit, and he was not feeling well I was always scared that he would have to be hospitalized and would never come back to us, but he fought for 26 years. Dad would always reassure me that Anthony was a fighter and that he would be okay.
Anthony was a devoted wrestling fan; he would attend every wrestling event that came through town. Whenever we would hear him swearing out loud on Sunday mornings, you knew he was watching wrestling! Anthony even got to attend a VIP exclusive where he got to meet all the wrestlers. He also had a Make A Wish, he wanted to meet his favourite wrestler John Cena, but decided to take his family to Disney World instead. He loved different types of music, he would even make a playlist of my favourite 80’s and 90’s music for us to listen to every time we had to go to the doctors. We would sing and dance in the car, and Anthony would dance like no one was watching except for the security cameras. We would go to Timmy’s or McDonald’s for lunch, and he would always bring back food for his dad to eat, especially apple pies and Big Mac meals. He was fascinated with owls; he carried a charm with him in his wallet of one as it seemed to guide him on all of life’s path. He would give money to people in need and didn’t keep anything for himself. He was generous to his brothers and his cousin Danielle at Christmas time. He took good care of his mom when she had her stroke. He would take Maximus for long walks. He went to go see Lady Gaga for the first time by himself, and the second time with his cousin Danielle. Danielle loved to see the joy on Anthony’s smiling face, and dancing and singing to Lady Gaga’s songs. He would do things alone and didn’t need people to do it with. I went to a concert with Anthony, I was so thrilled and happy to see Anthony singing the songs, smiling and being himself when we went to the Black-Eyed Peas. Anthony’s favourite thing while camping was dancing around the campfire. He enjoyed hanging out with his friend Chrisy, they would hang out at WEM buying things from his favourite stores like Hot Topic and Spencers. He would hang out with the Drayton family on the weekends with Brandon, they were like family to him. Anthony also enjoyed spending time with his paternal family in Selkirk, Manitoba.
Anthony loved children and children loved him. He was always helpful and caring towards his friends’ children. He was very patient with them. Anthony was considering going into the Child Care field, but because of his compromised immune system due to his transplants he was unable to pursue that career. Anthony was always taking selfies with his second cousin Aiden and enjoyed his company.
Anthony has always wanted to become an Uncle since his friend Brandon became a Dad. He became an honorary Uncle to Brandon’s kids. He was looking forward to doing the same when his best friend Chrisy McIntyre and her husband have kids in the future. Anthony’s dreams finally came true when his big brother Mike was expecting a baby. Anthony was so excited when he heard the news that he was jumping and screaming for joy with the big smile he always had. Mike saw the joy in Anthony’s face when he went crazy with excitement. All Anthony could talk about at family dinners and gatherings was becoming an Uncle, all with a smile on his face. He was so excited about becoming Uncle Tony to his nephew Luke Arthur Wilander. Anthony become an Uncle to his nephew Luke on April 1, 2020. He had a huge smile the whole time he held him in his arms. Mike knew that Anthony would have been a great Uncle to his son Luke and that he could trust Uncle Tony to babysit Luke Mike and Teri saw first hand how Uncle Tony would be when he was around his second cousin Aiden. Anthony was beaming with pride and had the brightest smile that you had ever seen when Mike put Luke in his arms.He got to see baby Luke three times before he passed on. He would have loved to spend more time with Luke since his birth but due to Covid and social distancing he wasn’t able to. Anthony was always happy to see pictures of Luke when Mike sent them to him. His phone would have been filled with pictures of Luke and of course, selfies of them together. Anthony was filled with so many plans for him and Luke in the future. He was going to take him shopping to buy toys and clothes, play video games, take him to the playground, swimming and go to McDonalds for the Kid’s Meal so he could get one too. He wanted to be the favourite Uncle. He was going to teach him the rights and wrongs of life. Anthony loved owls. He was always going to the baby section showing his Mom all the cute clothes for him to wear especially anything owl related. He had a plan to buy Luke a lot of owl stuff for Luke so it would remind Luke of him. Now that Anthony is no longer on Earth to do that personally, he will now be guiding Luke in Spirit from Heaven. Uncle Tony will be paying extra attention to his nephew Luke. He is in Heaven looking down with a big smile on his face seeing that his family is surrounding Luke with lots of love.
My brother in law Gene Gray has saved a chair for Anthony in his honour for all family dinners and gatherings so he would be there in Spirit. He would get a front row seat to the family dinner just as if he was there! Anthony loved to eat; he could eat his body weight in food! He would always go back for more. He would even tell us, “just make me a whole pot and you guys can share the other one!”
Anthony was the glue that bonded our family and has brought us all together. Brandon and Chrisy are our bond to Anthony and to his friends.
Anthony was an amazing person with a contagious laugh. Anthony gave the best of himself to everyone with his sense of humour along with his love for life and all of his family and friends. Anthony loved to take selfies; he would always steal our cell phones without telling us. We would always look at our phones later and see that there were photos of him making goofy, silly faces and poses, and then I would laugh.I heard he did that a lot to others as well. One moment I will cherish is when Anthony planned a surprise birthday breakfast with our family of five for me. I was so surprised and touched by the gesture and kindness. We are all blessed with our everlasting memories with him.
Anthony was bullied in school and in life, but that didn’t stop him from being who he was. He did his own thing, and no one could stop him. He had a cast on in kindergarten as well as his O2 tube in his nose, he was hanging upside down on the monkey bars, which was dangerous as he was doing it with one arm. He never did listen; he was stubborn and determined. He would always be a mediator when there was conflict, and he always stuck up for his friends. He always wanted everyone to be happy and to get along. Everywhere he went people loved him for his sassy, quirky and perky easygoing attitude. He always went out of his way to make you laugh when you were upset or sad. Day to day Anthony never had a set schedule, he would fly by the seat of his pants. I loved his spontaneity.
Anthony had a beautiful spirit and always looked for the good in others. He remained positive even through the most difficult situations. Always positive, gracious, good-natured and filled with love. Anthony always respected everyone, from family to the people he worked with.
Anthony always looked out for his family and friends. His passing will not change this, as he is now an angel in heaven and will always be watching over us. His love for life, family and friends was huge. Anthony was always our angel that the heavens shared with us for 26 years, they now need him back, but they give us faith as we know he is still watching over us.
We will remember him in our hearts and see him in our dreams. He is forever with us. Anthony is looking down from heaven making sure that his family and friends are okay. His spirit will be with us all the time.
Anthony wouldn’t want us to mourn his death but continue to celebrate life to its full potential. He was full of wisdom and advice. I would always ask myself, “what would Anthony do?”. He had no filter, never held back and told the truth even if it hurt. He has touched so many people’s hearts, even just with his smile. Anthony would have wanted you all to stay strong and live life the way you wanted to, just like he did!
Anthony, you have given us along with many other people you have met in your life 26 years of cherished memories. You have always had an everlasting impression on everyone. There are so many memories of you living life to the fullest, and so many memories of happiness, which brings tears to my eyes. I am so glad to have been able to be a part of your journey of life. I am so proud of you Anthony, my son. I wish I could be like you, but you are one of a kind! We love you and miss you Anthony but know we will meet again.
I would like to thank all the family and friends for their support during Anthony’s passing, especially his grandma Diane, grandpa Jack senior, auntie Kerry, cousin Jeramy and Skylar Dyck. Thanks to my sister Gina and her husband for having all the birthday dinners and gatherings at their house, and my niece Danielle for helping with spreading the word about his funeral details. Thank you to all the family members who were there to support Jack and I at his bed side for his journey to heaven.
The family would like to extend sincere thanks to all the staff for their endless commitment to Anthony at the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute. We would also like to extend a sincere thanks to all the individuals in the health care system who looked after Anthony’s needs.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Anthony’s Memorial Go Fund me. I would like to thank all the people who have donated to this fund. I would like to thank Grandma Margaret for paying the burial costs. Especially thanks to Kerry Disbrow and Skylar Dyck for setting up Anthony’s Memorial Go Fund Me Page to help him with his final resting place.
A Visitation will be held from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 30, 2020 with a Memorial Service on Friday July 31, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. at Connelly–McKinley Edmonton South Funeral Home, 4820 Meridian Street NW, Edmonton. A Private Burial will follow the service. Due to Covid restrictions, there will not be a Reception after the funeral.