You’re a survivor and that is amazing.


Each day older I grow, I understand more the reality of what it means to have survived childhood cancer. As a younger person, it was just a part of my life; I hadn’t seen much else, and I was just too busy playing to understand what it means to still be alive today. But now, I marvel at my leg, my hair, and my beating heart. Let me tell you why.

I stood up one morning. I took a step, and my knee gave out beneath me. I never knew that I’d never walk on that leg again. I ate my vegetables, and I slept full nights, and I was even nice to my friends. I never would have expected cancer. I probably would have just called you a liar if you would have told me that was really going to be my life.

But alas, I couldn’t walk. Soon, I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t get out of bed. Sometimes, I almost couldn’t breathe. To say that it’s a humbling experience to face mortality is just more of an understatement than I can explain. No one can walk to death with you. It’s you, and Jesus, (which is why you need Him), and death. I met myself in ways that I cannot describe.

I remember laying in bed begging God to make the throwing up end. To bring my friends back to life, and to just make it all be okay. And seriously, I don’t even know how I survived. I looked dead almost every day for a full year.

But then I did. I started to take steps on crutches. I made myself get out of bed. Jesus restored my spirit, and I locked eyes with death, and shook my head, “no.” And I just turned and walked away into the rest of life.

I am 23 now, and I feel like I grasp that death didn’t win, but that it sure could have. My fingers move, I can take a deep breath, and I can kiss my nephew. And it’s very much on purpose that I am alive.

The take-away is this. If you haven’t met death yet, listen to what I say. Right now, you’re a survivor, and that is amazing. Don’t take that for granted.

….because love wins.

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We need each other.


Santcus Real and myself in 2009!

There is a song that I really love by one of my favorite bands, Sanctus Real. It’s called We Need Each Other. Here, have a listen:

The premise is basically that we all need to love each other. Never have I felt such truth than when I moved to a new city, with new people, and three children whom I knew well passed away right away. I miss them. I miss college. I miss my best friends.

But here, Jesus has provided. And He always will. And those people are always going to be important. And so will the new ones.

Here are the blogs of two best friends of mine. One old, one, new. Beautiful women.

I love you, friends. And we all need each other. Be vulnerable and let yourself love. Let it be real.

http://fondlynostalgic.blogspot.com/

http://n0tdepressed.wordpress.com/

…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.

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.

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.