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Bring hope, comfort, and healing by creating #MarcoMoments that leave ripples of positive change.

Marco's story

Marco Shemwell was a precocious 4-year-old boy who loved BIG! Though Marco was small, he had a joy for life and a personality that would fill a room. We called him our “sour patch kid.” He could be mischievous, and then immediately melt your heart with his infectious wide smile, an “I love you,” and a hug that would make your day. Marco was a talker — engaged and extroverted. He was thrilled to be four, adored UK sports, and Batman was totally his favorite superhero. If you asked him why, he would say, “Because he helps people.”


On September 15, 2018, Marco was waiting to cross the street with us after a UK Football game when he was tragically struck by a vehicle driven by a UK student. Marco’s injuries were not survivable. He died two days later.


Marco was ours and we loved him, as did anyone who had the pleasure of knowing him. After his death, everyone around seemed to have a story or memory about him that they wanted to share. We immediately understood that even though he was young, Marco had a gift for changing the perspectives of those around him — more than we could have ever imagined. He was charismatic, empathetic, and so engaged with the world and other’s experiences.


We knew that we couldn’t let Marco’s death only be a source of tragedy. We wanted to continue on in his memory, honoring his spirit, his joy and positivity by seeking to create our own ripples of positive change in the community.

Marco's family

We are Liz, Ben, and Maximo — Marco’s mom, dad, and big brother. Kentucky natives, we have a passion for this state, our faith, our huge-hearted community, and UK sports.


Liz is committed full time to running and growing the Marco Shemwell Foundation, supported by Ben, who also works as an engineer. Marco’s big brother Maximo is now 8, and is working on building as many Batman-themed lego sets as possible.


As a family, we are committed to honoring Marco’s memory by sharing his story. We feel the tragedy of Marco’s absence every day, but we also feel that his memory, and our journey, can be a source of strength, encouragement, and education for others. We hope that by hearing our story, and seeing how we found purpose in our pain, others may find hope and healing.


We want to set love in action.  

Our Mission

Our mission

Bring hope, comfort, and healing by creating #MarcoMoments that leave ripples of positive change.

We are so moved by the overwhelming outpouring of love and support from our community — far beyond what we ever thought possible. After the tragedy, people came together generously to share, gather, grieve, donate, and raise awareness. We feel inspired to continue the momentum of love in action, or #MarcoMoments, through the Marco Shemwell Foundation.


Our vision

We partner with others —  from organizations to individuals — in order to:


  • Share our story and bring hope, comfort, and healing

  • Create positive change and pay it forward

  • Raise awareness about safety and preventable injury

  • Create safe spaces and opportunities for children and families


The Marco Shemwell Foundation is built on a foundation of faith — faith in shared love, shared community, and openness.

The story continues...

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