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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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.

“My leg is backwards…really.”


When I was diagnosed with bone cancer at the age of seven, having a backwards leg at the end of the months and months of treatment didn’t ever cross my mind. And I suppose, that’s normal, right? Would you think “Oh, bone cancer. Ouch. Wonder if they’ll turn my leg around.” Maybe you would. I don’t know, really. But nonetheless, I didn’t. And I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t either, right? 😉

In fact, I had no idea what a rotationplasty (the official name for this backwards legged-ness) was until I was viewing videos of it in another language given to me for purpose of further explaining what the rest of my life would be like. The people in the videos were playing ping pong. As a child who was accustomed to jumping from trees, I wasn’t entirely sure that was my goal in life, and wasn’t so keen on the idea. And I didn’t get keen on the idea for quite some time. I would have done whatever my parents said, and I sure liked the doctors, but I was an honest kid, and I wanted to run. I wanted to play. And I wanted to jump from trees. And I wasn’t sure that this leg thing was going to make that possible. Plus, I would look different.

Note, not strange. Not ugly. Not a freak. Just different. Just an adjustment. Something of which I wanted no more.

To be honest, the emotions I felt were similar to those present at the death of a loved one. I felt as though part of me was dying. If even for a moment, as a 7 year old, I had to learn that I was a soul, not a body. Or else I would have cried myself through the rest of life. I would have grieved the loss of part of me, rather than realizing that I was only becoming more of me.

Fast forward.

Rotationplasty has been the greatest blessing of my life. If you would have asked my thoughts on it 15 years ago, I would have laughed at you, probably. Well, maybe not laugh. I was young. I probably would have smiled at you and walked away thinking that wasn’t going to happen – ever. But, in the mantra of Justin Bieber – never say never! Right, JBiebs?

In June of 1998, I had the surgery done. Three days later, I was walking. A year and a half after that I was running, swimming, riding bike, walking with my friends, skipping, and most importantly – climbing trees. I am a soul every day. With a totally awesome body. After all, as I learned, the only disability we have is a poor attitude.

Check out videos of the surgery on my website here: http://www.becauselovewins.com/media.php?type=2

ImageThese days, they don’t give children facing this a video in another language. They give them a video of me rollerblading past a video camera. And then they give them me. I get to walk with them. I get to be what I didn’t have when taking my first steps again.

Here, you see me with my good friend. He’s got a backwards leg too. He just turned five, and you can’t tell from this photo, but we don’t need legs. We have each other. And we have full hearts. And nothing will ever stop us. Sometimes we tell people that our legs are on backwards. And finish each other’s sentences when no one believes us with… “No, really.”

Life is beautiful beyond words. Dance on your legs – one, two, three, or eight of them. Backwards or forwards. Just live everything.

…because love wins.

*Shanna speaks worldwide on a variety of topics. She is a professional fundraiser by trade and also a program coordinator for a non-profit her family was a part of founding to support families with childhood cancer. She is a dreamer. She is a do-er. She instills hope in all she meets, and she’ll talk with you about how all tragedy is an opportunity – and that we just have to learn to live that way. Contact her manager for booking information at http://www.BecauseLoveWins.com!

Have the most beautiful of days. And if you don’t know what to do, love. It always wins.