Meet Shanella! She is 12 years old and battled T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.

She was diagnosed with cancer when she was eight years old, and her diagnosis was not her family’s first battle with cancer. Her older sister was also diagnosed with cancer as a baby due to pesticide exposure. Because of their family’s history with the disease, they recognized the signs, but it still took almost four months to receive a diagnosis.

Shanella’s first chemotherapy was on Mother’s Day. Even though she was sick, tired, and attached to an IV pole, she made her mom a cup of coffee in the hospital’s family room. 

At first, there weren’t other kids at the hospital with her cancer, but we were lucky enough to meet a 17-year-old a few months into treatment who was diagnosed a few weeks before Shanella. They were able to talk to and understand each other’s journeys.

Shanella is a selfless girl who has never let cancer get her down. She saw it as an opportunity to meet new friends. While in the hospital, she continually reached out to other children, gave them encouragement, and convinced nurses to play games during treatments. Some of Shanella’s favorite activities are playing with her golden retriever puppy, swimming, cooking, and watching videos of Jennifer from Bunches of Lunches.

Shanella was recently in our 2022 St. Petersburg Fashion Funds the Cure event and walked the runway during her Dream Walk as a Chef! 

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