Your Heart is a Muscle.


“It’s times like this you must be calm. You gotta work it out, make it stronger, try for me, just a little longer. You say love’s a fragile thing, made of glass, but I think your heart is a muscle.”

Our hearts do not just break. They hurt when they stretch, but they get stronger after that. Don’t you give up. You will not break.

Your heart is a muscle.

…because love wins.

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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.

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.

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.

I didn’t run.


I didn’t run first.

You and I both know that we want greatness for our lives. There exists within us all a gnawing that says we have a purpose. Somewhere, behind our hurt, and our bitterness, it’s still there, whispering: “Be alive. Be who you are made to be. Be free.” And when we remember that, we find the want to run. To run faster than we ever have to accomplish what we were set to do. It’s phenomenal, for the most part.

But, it produces some struggle as well. Sometimes it is almost overwhelming to me how badly I want to change the world. How badly I want every single one of you on this planet to know you are not alone. To see all I dream of when I’m staring at the sunset to happen. I know you can relate to some degree. For if you’ve ever dreamed of anything, you probably wish it to happen right now. I know I do.

But real dreams aren’t run after. They are carefully pursued one piece at a time. I know this because three days after my leg was rotated backwards as a seven year old girl, I did not run. No. I did something more important than that. Something that most pass by, but something so important that it deserves to be studied thoroughly.

I stood up.

And for the first time in the months I had been on chemotherapy, I was on my way. For the first time since I was born, I was on a brand new path. For the first time, I realized that running wasn’t nearly as important as having the strength to stand.

So today, remember, we must first stand before we can gain the strength to take the first step. And realize that just standing is a major step on the way to seeing those dreams come true. Be patient. The rest will come and you will learn which step to take next.

…because love wins.

*Shanna Decker is a nationally recognized philanthropist, childhood cancer survivor, amputee, professional fundraiser, non-profit founder, and much more. She speaks world-wide on a variety of topics. To meet her or have her share at your event, contact her through her website. And, have a marvelous day.

Cancer Doesn’t Win: Despair.


Cancer changes everything.

Those three words, “You have cancer.” can take our breath, our peace, and our dreams. We are left on our knees and given nothing (or so we feel), but the small light of hope that the chemo, surgery, or radiation, after all the pain may lead us back to normal. And we all know we wonder if even those things can do the trick.

I know as well as anyone how easy it is to crawl into a hole of despair. Whether our trial is cancer or something else, the “Why me?” question surfaces, and if it doesn’t, others are sure to ask why we don’t feel bad for ourselves. It is an incredible temptation for someone with a chronic illness to allow despair into their lives. Slowly we open the door a little further and it makes us think we’ll never be happy again. It forces our eyes onto the darkness and the pain rather than the future, the hope, and the things we do not yet know in our future.

BUT despair is only a tempation. It has no right to live in our lives. Wherever we are and whatever we’re doing, we are doing it ALIVE. Yes, it may hurt, but pain is temporary. Yes, we may die, but that doesn’t mean it’s the end. Yes, our families may need to learn to live without us for a while, but we will meet again.

Despair is only as large a monster as you let it be. Today, close the door. Dare not to despair. Dare to climb one step at a time and let hope live within you. From one cancer survivor to you, I promise, it can be done. And it will be.

All the sad times before have gone away. Let them do it again today.

…because love wins.

*Shanna Decker is a professional motivational speaker since the age of 7. Follow her online and contact her for your event at: www.BecauseLoveWins.com,www.Facebook.com/ShannaDecker, and https://twitter.com/Shanna_Decker.

“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.