“I feel bad.”


It’s late and I should be sleeping, but there are just moments in life that ask to be written about.

Tonight was a Brighter Tomorrows night. Those who know me know this is my favorite night of life, every single time it happens. Those who don’t know me now know that it’s my favorite. Moving on.

We had 37 kids RSVP. That’s amazing to me. I don’t want kids to have cancer, but if they do have cancer, I do want them to come to Brighter Tomorrows to play games with us, to laugh with us, and to have summer camp with us once every month.

One conversation (among the many that are seriously the most inspirational things in life) tonight struck me and just keeps playing over and over again in my head. That’s why I am writing and not sleeping.

There is a 7 year old boy with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. I know most of his story because I’ve read it, met his family, talked with others who know him. But he doesn’t know that. He just thinks I know him for him. So we’re making some crafts and I mention that he still has his port accessed (most of the time kids don’t leave with a line in if they are just going for chemo) and I ask him why that is. He tells me that it’s for radiation and goes on to explain the burns that he has from it.

He rolls down the edge of his comfy pants, and I see the red line where that burn starts. I ask him casually if it hurts (because to him, cancer is casual and a part of life…I remember) and he says “Nope, not at all.” I’m sure at some points it does because his skin is all a deep, deep red and has a rough look to it, but he gave me the right now answer which is technically what I asked for. (Kids are amazing and I love them.) Then I go on to explain to him that I had cancer as well. I explain my leg and why I didn’t need any radiation and why he does but how we are similar. And then he listens and he and his brother start asking questions.

“Do you have a scar?”
“Yes, one here and here and here.”
“How did they hook it back on?”
“With a plate and screws.”
“So you have metal on you?”
“Well, sort of. Technically I have metal in me.”
“Does that hurt?”
“Nope, not at all, and it keeps my leg on there safely.”

We giggle.

He persists…

“Does it hurt to wear your leg?”
“Nope, it’s made just for me.”
“So your foot is just in there like that, huh?”
“Yes, just like you’re doing it!”
“Wait, so you lost your hair!?”
“I sure did.”

He stops.

“I feel so bad,” he says.

I tell him not to. He tells me he feels bad for me. I tell him I’m okay and everything is good and life is great. He insists that he feels bad for me.

Life is about perspective, my friends. Look without yourself.

…because love wins.

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You are a beautiful thing.


This is one of my favorite songs, forever, and for always. You are a beautiful thing. Because God made you that way. Accept it, and let it be beautiful.

…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.

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.