Steven Hansen

[Age 11] The Baltimore Co. sixth-grader won several awards for swimming.

May 31, 2007|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN REPORTER

Steven Joel "Stevie" Hansen, a sixth-grader who won numerous awards for swimming, died of brain and spinal cord cancer Tuesday at his Timonium home. He was 11.

Born in Towson, he was an experienced swimmer by the time he had graduated from Baltimore County's Pot Spring Elementary School in Baltimore County.

"He crawled into the ocean when he was 9 months old," said his mother, Elizabeth Davenport Hansen, who said that as a 2-year-old, he persuaded her to let him dive off the board at the Springlake Swim Club.

He joined the Central Maryland Swim League's Springlake Piranhas and the Towson Tigerfish Aquatic Club in 2001 and was soon winning awards for butterfly, back and free-style strokes.

At 6, he began competing in the Straehle Invitational Championships held at local pools.

"He was a naturally gifted swimmer who demonstrated skills well beyond his years," said Scott Armstrong, a North Baltimore Aquatic Club senior coach.

Stevie was awarded numerous high-point trophies. He also played baseball, soccer and basketball in Baltimore County recreation leagues, and recently took up tenpin bowling.

In October 2002, brain cancer was diagnosed, and it later spread to the spinal cord. He had four surgeries and numerous treatments.

He enrolled at Ridgely Middle School, but when his health failed, he was tutored through a county public schools home and hospital program.

Family members said that Olympic medalist Michael Phelps visited Stevie and brought him memorabilia. A photo of them appears in Mr. Phelps' book, Beneath the Surface.

A memorial service will be held at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at the Episcopal Church of the Holy Comforter, Seminary and Bellona avenues in Lutherville, where the family holds membership.

He also is survived by his father, Steven D. Hansen; a 9-year-old sister, Grace Anne Hansen; his paternal grandmother, Anne C. Hansen of Lutherville; and his maternal grandmother, Thelma H. Davenport of Hunt Valley.

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