A bucket list is something people in retirement often speak of; there are places to visit, landmarks to photograph, hang-gliding, hiking or even finishing degrees or reenacting their wedding. There are things to do before you die. But 17 year old Shaltell "Shannie" Pooser has a list of things she wants to accomplish; and she's calling it her bucket list, because Shannie is terminally ill.
Life Was An Uphill Battle
Born not only with Down Syndrome, but also with a congenital heart condition, Shannie has struggled all her life to do the simplest things that other kids take for granted. Added to that is a battle just to breathe, Shannie suffers from Laryngomalacia, tracheomalacia, and bronchomalacia, airway defects that are inoperable and threaten her life. Bikers Against Bullies donated a service dog so that Shannie can get a faster response when she has respiratory distress.
Shannie has spent much of her life in doctors' office and hospitals, enduring countless treatments and over fifty surgeries. She and her mother have made the trip from South Carolina to Cincinnati's Children's Hospital so many times that American Airline Crews became friends of the family.
Facing and Fighting Fears
Shannie and mom, Deanna Miller-Berry, made a bucket list together. Mamma made a promise about the list, "I'll make it happen." Deanna asked a friend at American Airlines if Shannie could have some AA patches and other small items that bore the logo of the air carrier they traveled on regularly, explaining that Shannie longed to be a flight attendant.
But American did them one better. On Shannie's 17th birthday last October, the first of the promises was realized when a captain from American Airlines gave Shannie a birthday party on a Boeing jet airliner.
Doing the Impossible
American Airlines invited friends and VIPs to attend Shannie's celebration in the first class cabin, but best of all they made Shannie an AA flight attendant with an ID badge and official uniform that includes a snazzy new scarf. Whenever she travels, Shannie helps the cabin crew prepare for the flight by demonstrating safety equipment. She is thrilled to have completed an item on her "bucket list".
Miller-Berry has established the Saving Shannie Foundation to raise funds to help her fight for her life, but it's mission also includes benefits and services to other kids suffering similar challenges. Mother and daughter are fighting against the odds, but I wouldn't bet against them.
If you have are guided with a heart to serve those in need, contact us to learn where a career in Behavioral Health can take you.
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