How to be happy.


1.      Enjoy simplicity.

2.      Smile as much as possible.

3.      Live for today.

4.      Love each other.

5.      Watch the sunset.

6.      Read hundreds of books.

7.      Listen to great music.

8.      Love yourself.

9.      Learn from your mistakes.

10.  Understand that no one is perfect.

11.  Eat ice cream in summer.

12.  Build a snow fort.

13.  Act like a kid again.

14.  Take nothing for gratnted.

15.  Live up to your expectations.

…because love wins.

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Meet Kaden Tjossem.


This is Kaden.

You may remember him from a previous blog post. He’s a very old 5 years old this year. I met him a little over a year ago, when he was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, the same cancer I had 14 years ago. The cancer is a rare form of bone cancer and resulted in us both having Rotationplasty.

He allows me the time to be a part of his life and laughs with me while we play. He fights strong, he’s kind, sweet, and loves his parents. He is a pro video gamer, and has learned to walk as well as me at the age of five. He’s the hero of many, and he is the version of honest that makes the world’s hearts smile.

This Thanksgiving, Kaden is still battling his cancer hard. After it came back, he told me that it was, and that he didn’t want to have to be in the hospital. He wanted to play with his puppy and be a 5 year old. I want that for him too.

You can join in prayer and encouragement of Kaden’s journey by following their new page on facebook: Prayers and Love for Kaden. Kids should not have cancer, and while we work on fixing that, let’s also work on making sure these families facing this atrocity never do it alone.

This holiday season, give your joy and prayers, away.

…because love wins.

*Kaden and I met through an organization near and dear to my heart, Brighter Tomorrows. Feel free to find out more about non-profit here.

I am thankful for backwards legs.


If you have not seen the Mayo Clinic educational video done about Rotationplasty which takes over the internet for all things Rotationplasty, please see it above.

When I had cancer, I didn’t have a video (nor very many people) to help me decide if Rotationplasty was good for me. But, when I started to re-learn sports and mentor other children with the procedure, I knew this had to change. So we made video after video. At Mayo Clinic, each patient facing this operation meets me, and is given a copy of this to watch on repeat. I get to be what I never had, for others.

Today, I often find messages from people all around the world in my inbox saying things like:

“It was your videos with the Mayo Clinic that convinced us rotationplasty was the way to go. Up until then we were (in our minds) sure that limb salvage was best, but after meeting patients who have had both and seeing your video, we knew in our hearts rotationplasty would allow our son a productive and active life. Thank you.”

Today, I am thankful for being alive. Thankful for Rotationplasty, and incredibly thankful to have the opportunity to walk others along the path I walk.

Appreciate your challenges today.

…because love wins.

We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.


Whether you love her or hate her or hate to love her, Taylor Swift does some things right. And we all love that.

All too often, we as humans clutch the burning stoves that are our hazardous relationships. “It’s not what you think,” we say to our friends. “It will get better,” we tell ourselves through our tears. “He won’t hurt me again,” we whisper as we cover up our bruises.

I’m not sure if everything Taylor tells us is in the least dramatic form, but I do applaud her for expressing that she doesn’t always have to stay hopelessly in like with someone. She, and you, can walk away.

This post is simple. If you are in a bad place, it’s okay to get out. You don’t have to stay with a boyfriend or girlfriend who hurts you emotionally. If you are being hurt physically, the time to leave is now. If it’s marriage, honor it as it should be honored (you are welcome to ask me about this), but know that before that, we are not meant to marry every person on the planet.

You will find food, drink, clothing, friends, and joy. You don’t need that hurtful place to keep you in a familiar cage. Just walk away, join Taylor, and me, in saying, “We are never ever getting back together.”

You have the right to be happy being you.

…because love wins.

Live life like Make-A-Wish.


Some of my good friends are going on their Make-A-Wish trip today. They texted me from their airplane and I could almost hug the joy through the 136 characters on that screen. I wanted to jump up and down for them and scream for happiness and throw rainbows in the air and dance a little too. That’s how exciting this is. And not just because they’re going here:

That’s a Disney Cruise, in case you didn’t know.

Do let me explain.

For those of you who have never heard of Make-A-Wish, it is an organization that grants wishes to children with life threatening or critical illnesses. When the medical world is able to give physical help, Make-A-Wish gives a one time, unforgettable object or event and a major set of smiles. Some children meet Justin Bieber. Some children have their rooms re-designed. And a large majority go to Disney World. Whatever the wish is, it is the choice of the ill child, and it will surely be unlike any experience they have ever had before. They will be treated like royalty, and appropriately given one thing that was seemingly impossible before.

This isn’t the exact one, but you get the idea.

13 years ago in September, I remember my excitement sitting on the airplane for my Make-A-Wish Trip. I had never flown before, just as my wish-kid friend mentioned above has not (Well, now he has, seeing that they should be well landed at this point.) and I remember nearly exploding with excitement about the experience that laid ahead of me. Most importantly though, I remember being so thankful to have my family with me away from a hospital. For just one week, I had everything I had wanted – just to be together.

The thing about cancer or any chronic illness is that it takes a lot from a family. Most specifically – it takes time – in so many ways. I know it seems like those are just cliche words on the screen to you, but I mean that with the depth of my aching heart.

For that reason, these days, I tend to live everything as though it were my greatest wish. Because in reality, every day is. I love airplanes and vacation, but also, anywhere I can be healthy and with my family is a continuation of my Make-A-Wish trip. As my friends will surely tell you, there is no other way to live, and no reason not to.

Simply put, living is a matter of appreciation. Join us! 🙂

…because love wins

*Shanna Decker is a an old soul. Spending nearly two decades personally mentoring families with childhood cancer, she has learned how to turn the most tragic of situations into pure triumph. She is a professional speaker, non-profit co-founder and coordinator, and would love to come present for your event! Learn more about her and contact her on her website.

An ode to my 5 year old battle partner.


I walked down the halls of the children’s hospital carrying a small prosthetic leg just 17 years smaller than mine. Its owner and I have almost everything in common.

We know how to be out of control.
We know pain.
We know joy.
We know what it means to understand how terrible cancer is.
We know why kindness matters.
We know why our stuffed animals are so important.
We know why we tell our moms we love them.

We fight in the same army.

The owner of this leg rode in his wheelchair right next to me. Standing no higher than my hip, he is my battle partner on this open field of colored tiles and IV poles. In a war in which we fight with the best armies the world can offer. Those who arm us with research, chemotherapy, prayer, hope, strength, and willpower to move forward.

In a war in which we fight alongside each other against that cancer within us.

Our battle cry is this, childhood cancer:

Take our legs – we can do it.
Take our hair – we can do it.
Take our sleep – we can do it.
Take our dreams – we can do it.

You can take our everything.

Except our hope.

We will not, ever, at any moment, give up our hope. We guard it within one another, and it simply cannot be reached. Its protection is invincible as we walk hand-in-hand or wheelchair in wheelchair carrying each other’s dreams and wants and favorite video games.

For you fight for my life and I fight for yours, battle partner. You make me smile though tears and I tell you it won’t hurt forever. And there is no force stronger than two deep hearts saying no to that cancer.

But to my battle partner, if there comes a time when we must let go of our hands held so tightly, we will still never be apart. For when in war it doesn’t matter where you are; you are never left behind – and always held in the heart.

…because love wins.

It’s hard to find people who get it.


We were never meant to do childhood cancer alone.

If you or your child were diagnosed with cancer today, would you just want something to read online, or would you want also want a person in real life who can help? I know it’s the latter. Because I’ve been there.

I can help with that.

When a family googles “Childhood Cancer” I want my name to come first, so that they may have someone to talk to who can point them in the direction of a person with the same kind of cancer in the same part of the world. I know well enough people to  make the connections, but I need you to spread the word.

The GOAL for the next three days: Get 5,000 facebook “Likes” here: https://www.facebook.com/ShannaDecker and ONE MILLION Twitter followers at https://twitter.com/Shanna_Decker! But I need your help!

Share share share share the facebook page! And then be sure to ask your friends to share it – it needs to go viral! And, #5000forcancerkids on Twitter. Then link to this story or http://www.twitlonger.com/show/jsk2td. Remember to ask people to RT and spread the word!

You are helping raise awareness. YOU are helping families not have to do this alone. Because it’s easy to find something to read. It’s not as easy to find people who just get it. Who, for that matter, can tell one what to read as well. 🙂

Please do all you can to help us!

…because love wins.

One second of your time to heal a life?


I have a new goal: 5,000 likes on my professional facebook page (https://www.Facebook.com/ShannaDecker), and ONE MILLION Twitter followers so that when families with childhood cancer are looking for healing, they come to someone who has walked this road before them.

A simple image of rotationplasty. Check out videos to see how a prosthetic makes this work!

It’s simple – there are a lot of resources, but not as many people who understand childhood cancer and amputation long term. I have a rotationplasty – my leg is backwards. You can see videos here: http://www.becauselovewins.com/media.php?type=2 I have had chemo, been in a hospital for nearly a year, major surgery, asked all the questions, and watched my best friends die.

And I want one thing: to let those doing this after me know that they are not alone. To point them the right direction. To help them heal.

Please help me reach them. I need 5,000 likes on http://www.Facebook.com/ShannaDecker, one million Twitter followers! You can share it on twitter with #5000forcancerkids! and http://www.twitlonger.com/show/jsk2td.

The aim here is that search engines find me first when families are searching a midst childhood cancer and that I can then save them from finding the wrong resources – give them the right direction right away! The aim is to give them hope. To be their hope.

Won’t you help me? 🙂

…because love wins.