IMPERIAL BEACH, Calif. (KGTV)--An Imperial Beach 18-year-old is parlaying the social media talents he learned as a creepy clown into a new non-profit designed to help kids with cancer. Sean Byrne isn’t famous but the “Chuckles the Clown” persona was infamous on social media last October when a group of Byrne’s friends and their costumes were known as the Cali Killa Clowns.
Unbeknownst to the rest of San Diego County, Byrne and his friends were hired to promote an annual Halloween concert through their social media account.
“It was just me and my friends messing around because we had clown costumes from Halloween,” said Byrne who revealed his identity to 10News on Wednesday.
The Imperial Beach man said he got permission from his parents, one of which is a retired US Navy SEAL.
“Like a dad I was, ‘What are you guys doing?’” recalled Jim Byrne. “These are the lines. You cross any of these lines and this is over.”
The clowns were also a welcome distraction for Sean Byrne because it took his mind off the tumor growing in his brain.
“I’d get home from chemo and we’d go out as clowns at night. It was funny. It was a fun distraction,” said Sean.
Sean’s dad said his son never got down on himself.
“I’ve only cried about it twice,” said Sean. “I realized in the middle of chemo that crying doesn’t cure cancer.”
Instead, Sean Byrne parlayed his knowledge of social media into an on-line fundraising non-profit called “The Rivers of Hope Cancer Project.”
“It’s for other kids that are going through the same fight,” explained Byrne. “I can’t send anyone to Hawai’i yet but I can buy a kid an Xbox or something like that.”
“Through this whole thing, Sean has never stopped thinking about other people,” said a supportive Jim Byrne.
“This illness can cause loneliness, depression, anger, and a bunch of other emotions,” concluded Sean. “Nice kids don’t deserve to go through that you know.”