SCARBOROUGH — The community is mourning the death of Kyle St. Clair, a happy and brave little boy whose courage in battling a lifelong illness inspired thousands.
Kyle died Tuesday morning at home, with his family by his side. He was 8.
Kyle was born on Oct. 27, 2004, a son of Mark and Kate St. Clair of Scarborough.
Shortly after he died, Kyle’s family shared the news on a Facebook page devoted to him.
“After 8 plus years of fighting, our love doesn’t need to fight anymore. … We can’t say enough about what joy this boy has brought to us in his short time on earth.”
Kyle was born prematurely and spent the first nine months of his life in Maine Medical Center’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
He suffered from lung disease and severe dysmotility, a disease that prevented his digestive system from functioning properly. He didn’t eat food and could only sip water. A feeding tube provided nutrients to his tiny body.
Kyle endured more than 50 painful surgeries and invasive tests and procedures to improve his quality of life. In a blog post on May 23, his mother revealed the pain that came from helplessly watching her son struggle to live.
“His body is very tired but he still is fighting,” she wrote. “I’m in awe of what this beautiful boy endures every day, yet he still fights. He told me he won’t go to heaven until I can go with him.”
Kyle attended kindergarten and first grade at Blue Point Primary School in Scarborough. He was in second grade but was unable to attend school this year.
On Tuesday, John Thurlow, principal of Blue Point School, sent a letter home to parents and caregivers informing them that Kyle had died.
The school’s social worker visited all first- and second-grade classrooms Wednesday to offer students a chance to share their feelings and ask questions.
“Kyle was a very special boy, whose tremendous courage and beautiful spirit captured our hearts,” the principal wrote in the letter. “Kyle loved his school, his teachers, and his friends whom he touched in so many ways. And we all loved him.”
Kyle drew a lot of support from the Scarborough High School football team and its boosters, who held numerous fundraisers for him. Players from the team visited Kyle weekly to hang out and play with him.
“It was an inspiration to them to see how hard Kyle was fighting to keep going, with everything he was going through,” said Lance Johnson, football coach at Scarborough High. “We did some things to help Kyle smile, but he was more of an inspiration to us.”
Kyle leaves his brother Lucas St. Clair, 21; his sister, Alexis, 11; and his brother, Jack, 6.
Though Kyle was sick for most of his life, he enjoyed spending time with his family. He liked going to Sebago Lake and playing video games with his siblings and friends. He liked reading books and playing Power Rangers and board games.
A highlight of his life was visiting Walt Disney World and the Give Kids the World Village in Florida, a trip provided by Make-A-Wish Maine.
Kyle inspired thousands in the Scarborough community and beyond. Several local and national businesses held fundraisers to support the family and its Team Kyle Foundation. Those businesses include Energy Armor, Angel Flights of NE, Portland Pie Co. and Anjon’s Italian Restaurant.
Much of the money raised has been used to support the foundation’s charitable causes, such as the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center, the Robbie Foundation and March of Dimes Maine.
The Scarborough High girls’ basketball team held a moment of silence before Tuesday night’s game for Kyle.
The Scarborough Police Department changed its Facebook cover photo Wednesday to a picture of Kyle’s handprint in orange, with the words, “Live for today.”
Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at: