Courageous Kids Fighting Cancer: Shanella, age 8, t-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia

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Shanella was diagnosed with t-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2018. Her mom told us, “from the time I knew I was having a girl, I knew she would have cancer…just like her sister and many generations of woman in my family (although the drs said I was wrong). She grew up knowing the possibilities and the reason her sister got cancer, so from a young age she became very interested in shows and movies that had children, teens, and adults with cancer. I truely believe this is what has given her the strength she has on this jouney.”  From the day her family got her diagnosis, Shanella she knew exactly what hospital she wanted to go to and that she wanted her hair cut so she could get a wig made with her own hair.

Despite her diagnosis, Shanella has been a pillar of strength, even until now when she found out that chemotherapy alone won’t be enough for her, so she has to get radiation as well. At just 8 years old, she is friendly and continues to look for other patients to make friends with and likes to think she runs the child life department at her hospital. Shanella is always smiling and her strength gives her mom the strength to hold on to the faith that she can overcome this horrible disease just like her sister did.

Shanella loves getting mail! Her mom says, “I can’t do a lot for her, and we don’t have a support system so getting things in the mail really mean a lot to her. She does amazing at hiding her pain and fears, so I want to help keep her happy so she stays healthy. I believe that a positive busy mind helps promote a positive healthy mindset, which is the #1 tool needed when dealing with cancer.”

To Shanella and her family, Jessie’s NEGU motto and getting JoyJars® in the mail helps remind her someone out there cares about her. Her mom said, “I enjoy watching her stalk the mailman as he’s driving from house to house just to see what she might get in the mail that day. I know that NEGU cares, because you have lived the life we are which means a little part of you goes into each gift you provide a child. Knowing that your foundation was started because of the love you have for your own child helps me see Im not entirely alone. Being a single parent on this journey is hard and I cant afford to give my daughter the smiles she needs to hold on her strength to fight. Your gifts take some of that stress off me and has given my daughter a new hobby…stalking the mail man. I love seeing her smile as she goes outside in anticipation.”