When 11-year-old Trevor Sims succumbed to cancer almost two years ago, it inspired a food drive to meet his dying wish to feed the hungry and led Baton Rouge to name a bridge in his memory.
Thanks to the efforts of a local teen, passers-by on North Boulevard will be reminded again of Sims’ spirit.
Ashton Kennedy, who met Sims in his final months, has raised more than $13,600 to create a sculpture honoring him, and it will be placed downtown sometime next year, Downtown Development District Executive Director Davis Rhorer confirmed.
Lafayette artists Patrick and Celia Soper have been commissioned to create a bust of Sims from photos Kennedy provided them, Kennedy said. The sculpting project will take from five to seven months, he said, and then the piece will be bronzed by a Houston company. When it’s done, there will be a spot waiting for it near the Old Governor’s Mansion, Rhorer said.
Although the North Boulevard bridge over the railroad tracks has been named for Sims, the downtown site is better because more people will see it, Rhorer said, particularly as that area becomes part of the planned Greenway bike and pedestrian corridor.
“Trevor was a very giving person,” Rhorer said. “I think it’s great. I think it’s a nice setting under the live oaks.”
Kennedy, 19, began the effort to further honor Sims last year, a task made more difficult because he was in Ruston studying at Louisiana Tech University. But he was able to get the idea in front of a lot of people, one of whom was former LSU basketball coach Dale Brown, who emailed his large group of friends and encouraged their support.
“I’m ecstatic,” Kennedy said. “Donations really came in from all over the country. It wasn’t just Baton Rouge. Not only to see a whole community come together to support it, but to see people from all around the country to jump on board and see it through.
“It was a lot of prayer and a lot of people putting me in contact with the right people.”
Sims, who died on Oct. 17, 2013, had battled embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma for five years. When his condition became untreatable, the staff at Cancer Services of Greater Baton Rouge asked him for a list of things he wanted to do before he died. One of his answers was to feed the homeless. That led the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank to hold a drive in his honor that brought in the equivalent of almost 400,000 meals, Food Bank official Charlene Guarisco Montelaro said. The Baton Rouge Metro Council named the overpass in his memory less than a month later, and the Food Bank still names its annual drive for Sims.
Rhorer said he is pleased that Sims’ legacy lives on.
“I think it’s very inspiring, both what Trevor Sims did — in his short but wonderful life he touched a lot of people — and I think you can see a citizen in the area has picked up on that,” Rhorer said. “I think that’s a model to emulate, how he cared for the homeless and those that are hungry.”