COLONIE Eric Schneider never lived in Colonie but his tragic story has touched the lives of so many in the town that they will soon plant a maple tree in his honor in the Crossings of Colonie Park.
Schneider was born with hydroplastic left heart syndrome, a condition in which the left ventricle of the heart has not developed completely. He lived in Melbourne, Fla., where he would travel to Jacksonville for regular surgeries at Wolfson’s Children Hospital.
He died on the operating table on July 20. He was five years old.
“He was a wonderful little boy who just lived life to the fullest,” said Kimmarie Victoria, a resident of Colonie and Schneider’s aunt. “Every day was an adventure with him.”
Victoria said she would always tell stories and bring pictures to her coworkers at the New York State Department of Safety’s Division of Criminal Justice Services. Many of them were moved by his story and fell in love with the little guy without ever meeting him.
“He had touched hundreds of lives,” she said. “Whether it was the therapist or his teacher in pre-school or just people at any of the social events he was at… His story inspired people in my office and they all kept track of him.”
She and her coworkers decided to donate a tree to the Crossings by working with Rich Miller in Troy who will help with the donation. Cindy Neff, one of Victoria’s coworkers, said it feels good to do something for the family in New York. She added they have also made a donation to the Ronald McDonald house, which Victoria said has helped her sister, Joanne Schneider, cope with Eric’s surgery schedule.
Neff said she was always interested in the stories Victoria told of Schneider at work and how she always had pictures of him hanging up around her desk.