- "I guess a big part of his impact on me was how quickly he was here and gone. He was literally playing Star Wars one day and gone the next. It wasn't till later that I found out about the amazing life he'd lived, and how he beat the odds again and again to just keep living when all the doctors said he wouldn't live to be 7 years old."
- ―Gregg Keefer
Shawn Valdez was a Jacksonville, Florida boy who died from T-cell leukemia at the age of thirteen after struggling with the disease for nearly eight years. Valdez was a fan of the Star Wars franchise and the Star Wars Customizable Card Game, made by Decipher, Inc. Valdez died a day after leaving a tournament for the game early due to weakness brought on by his condition. In honor of Valdez's memory, Decipher, with the encouragement of Jacksonville tournament director Gregg Keefer and with Lucasfilm's permission, decided to name the Star Wars character Shawn Valdez after him, as part of the card game's Hoth Limited expansion set. The lore for the Shawn Valdez card describes the character as a "leader" and a "poetic musician," the former a tribute to Valdez for his courage, the latter for his contributions to the book I Will Sing Life: Voices from the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, which contained poetry by seven children who attended actor Paul Newman's camp in Connecticut for children with terminal illnesses. Valdez's poetry, which replicated the voices of his family, oncologists, and imaginary friends, was read by esteemed actor Robin Williams for the audiobook of I Will Sing Life.