THE SHANNON MOSHER MEMORIAL FOUNDATION, INC.

S.A.L.T. and L.I.G.H.T.

 

Become a bone marrow donor.

Save A Life Tomorrow....

so that others may

Live In Great Hope Today

 

         Shannon Lee Mosher                           August 9, 1971 - May 20, 2000

Shannon striking a pose at our Boston apartment one week before receiving her bone marrow transplant on 3/18/00. Her natural, unassuming smile was so beautiful and spontaneous that it instantly warmed the hearts of family, friends and others...who wouldn't be strangers for long.


Remember her courageous fight, loving spirit, faith in the Lord, and favorite Scripture, Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understading; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." 

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About Shannon


Reflections on Shannon, 10/13/00
“Am I going to die today?”  That was the first question Shannon asked Dr. Coleman on 2/11/99 when he told us she had leukemia.  Susan, Teresa and I sat quietly, tears in our eyes, stunned by the news. But, of course, Shannon immediately set the tone for the upcoming battle by following with the question “Or is there something that we can do about it?”  I promised in my last update a few days after Shannon’s death to share with you at a later date some thoughts and reflections about the many ways God blessed Shannon and her family during the very difficult 15 months in which she battled acute leukemia. 


The biggest blessings of all during this enormous trial were that Shannon grew much closer to her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and that her testimony and faith proved to be such an inspiration to so many who followed her story.  From a human perspective, we were all truly blessed that Shannon did not die on February 11, 1999.  God, in His goodness and mercy, gave Shannon and us a gift—15 additional months together—to talk, laugh, love, weep, rejoice, and eat sushi! This extraordinary gift takes on special meaning after reading in the paper last month about the young 20-year-old University of Georgia student from Marietta, Georgia who died from acute leukemia less than 24 hours after he reported feeling ill. 

 

It was a blessing when Shannon achieved remission in March, 1999 and that she enjoyed several months of relative “normalcy” before relapsing November 18.  During those months, her zest for life became amplified in how she approached relationships and in the ways she seized the opportunities God gave her. In March, Shannon traveled with Teresa and me to Albany, Georgia to close the sale of her house and to visit with many friends she had made in the five years she lived there.  During April and May, she took joy in drawing the plans and supervising the installation of an herb garden and cobblestone walkway at our house, and in surprising Teresa by finishing some sheetrock and painting the utility room.  In June, Shannon traveled with us to Florida to visit relatives, and was able to spend time with my Mom who died a couple of weeks later at age 92.  Shannon reflected in an email during that trip about how having leukemia had given her the motivation to do some things she always wanted to do but never really took the time, and encouraged others to do the same.  She said, “I could go on and on and I’m pleased to say that my short life is already full of great experiences, and if I died tomorrow, I’d do it with a smile on my face.”  But God blessed her with additional time….so how did she use it?


In late July, she departed for a dream vacation to Paris, France with her aunt and uncle from Tallahassee, and returned home in August with a glow on her face!  In September, Shannon continued her search in earnest for a career-oriented and challenging job, and then in October she had the opportunity to renew friendships with old classmates at their 10th high school reunion.  A very special moment in Shannon’s life at the time then took place, as she left our house beaming on the morning of November 1 to begin the “perfect job” with Sprint PCS. A couple of weeks later, she dressed up in my old ‘bulldog helmet’ pants and headed off to Athens with a dear friend to attend the Georgia vs. Auburn football game, just five days before relapsing.  And though it was a difficult Thanksgiving season, Shannon faced this latest setback with the same positive, energetic attitude that was her standard.


Having lived with her Mom and Teresa and me at different times during the year, she moved into her own apartment in December.  It was a real concern that Shannon might not achieve a second remission and could die before Christmas.  In Shannon’s update on December 19, 1999, she discussed her need for a bone marrow transplant and noted, “I have a chromosomal disorder that is making it more difficult for me to find a match.  Some say bad luck; I say ‘God made me special!’”  He certainly did, and God granted us additional time.


Wanting to be around ‘normal’ people to celebrate on New Years’ eve (even with some nervousness about being around so many germs!), Shannon and her brother, Scott, went to a party and had a wonderful time. Shannon was then inspired to initiate a bone marrow drive that would increase the donors on the national registries that could potentially help hundreds of people with leukemia and other diseases.  On February 6, 2000 it was a blessing that 420 new donors came forward to meet the challenge, and two days later Shannon’s doctor called to say she was again in complete remission.  However, it was again a critical time in that Shannon could die soon if a suitable bone marrow donor was not located.   Having been in a holding pattern waiting on an acceptable match, Shannon received a call from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, MA with news that a suitable match had been found and the transplant could be scheduled.  With the news of being in remission and having a suitable donor, Shannon reported on her website that day, “I’d say God is working overtime for me this week!”  She was then scheduled for a bone marrow transplant at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston.  The pre-transplant treatment, preparation, and the transplant itself were all potentially lethal, but on March 18 the transplant was infused and Shannon survived.  God granted us additional time.


The first several weeks post-transplant were critical as her body dealt with the effects of the chemotherapy, whole body radiation, and the new marrow.  Patients with no major complications are usually able to leave the hospital around day 28-30 post-transplant, but must remain close at hand to receive treatment for various and frequent problems.  A longer-range goal of patients is to make it through 100 days post-transplant; it’s at that point that a patient can usually return home.  Although Shannon had some horrendous days during the first three weeks, she did not face a critical situation until April 8 when she was close to being placed on life support.  Thankfully, the doctors were able to get the problems under control.  God granted us additional time.


April 20 was a tough day.  Shannon was past day 30 post-transplant and expected to be able to leave the hospital by then.  Though close to being physically able to leave, Shannon began wondering if she would ever really be well enough.  With tears flowing from her eyes, she kept saying, “I just want to go home, I just want to go home.”  God answered our prayers, and she was discharged to our Boston apartment the next day – Good Friday.  For 18 memorable days until she was readmitted to the hospital for the final time May 9, Shannon was at our apartment, regaining her strength and enjoying life once again.  She was able to walk outside, take several sightseeing drives, and enjoy a picnic with her Mom, Grandmother, other Boston relatives, and her boyfriend.


The last 15 months of Shannon’s life were, for her and for her family, days of tremendous struggle, anguish and grief.   They were also days of amazing happiness, joy and triumph.  In our helplessness and weakness we

experienced our God’s marvelous sustaining power and strength.  At every critical juncture of the journey, God lifted us up when we were beaten down. He gave us measure upon measure of time to share with this special woman He allowed to pass through our lives.  We will be forever grateful for her life and for the joy she brought to ours in so many, many ways.  We look forward with great anticipation to the day when we shall be reunited with her! Until then, we remember Shannon with love, joy and peace in our hearts. 


Farm Visit

Farm Visit was the description on the final invoice from the Vet’s office. The Farm Visit was to our house about 5:45 pm yesterday, Monday, May 7, 2007,  and the purpose was to euthanize our precious dog, Braxton. We knew this day was coming, but it was a very painful experience for Teresa and me, particularly so because Braxton was Shannon’s dog. For anyone who hasn’t read the story I wrote about related to Shannon, Braxton, and us a year after we first learned that Shannon had leukemia, it's shown at the end of this note.  Braxton had his 15th birthday a few weeks ago, and he was blind. The surgeons at The University of Florida Vet School did all they could a couple of years or so ago, but last year he finally lost sight in both eyes.


Braxton also has had problems with arthritis for quite awhile, but the meds he was on daily were helping some. But since our return to the Atlanta area in November, 2006 from Ocala, FL, he had gotten progressively worse. I was out of town last week, when Teresa called me Friday afternoon, very upset, because she had to take Braxton to the Vet’s office; he had collapsed while outside trying to urinate, and couldn’t stand up. With her own arthritis problems, Teresa was amazed that she was able to lift Braxton into the back seat of the car. When Teresa looked closely at Braxton’s face, she also sensed he was just very tired and that he didn’t want to fight all of his health problems anymore. The Vet’s assistants took Braxton in the office on a stretcher, and the initial diagnosis was that he had had a minor spinal stroke, which they treated immediately by giving him steroids.


I drove home Friday night from Ormond Beach and, when we visited Saturday morning, Braxton was somewhat better, although he wasn’t eating much and had thrown up some. With some assistance getting him up, Braxton was able to go outside and do his business. The Vet said they could try a new arthritis med that actually has worked well with some pets, extending their time and providing a reasonable quality of life for 1 -2 years, so we agreed they would start that this past Sunday, to allow time for the steroids to get out of his system. The Vet said that if the new meds worked they would know within a day.


When Teresa called yesterday morning, the report was that Braxton was not doing very well at all, and the prognosis was not good. When we arrived at the Vet’s office later, he said Braxton was unable to stand up and that he had been throwing up a lot of blood. They also found a large mass in his stomach area, which they speculated was cancerous. We all agreed that the best thing for Braxton would be to put him down. The Vet agreed that it would be fine for us to take Braxton home, and about 3 hours later he would come to the house to administer the appropriate drugs. They brought Braxton out to the car on a stretcher, which we kept until the Vet’s visit later. To just look at Braxton on the way home and when we got there, you wouldn’t have thought that he had such serious problems.


We were able to carry Braxton to our sunroom, where we moved him off the stretcher and had him just lay on some towels over a couple of rugs. The Vet said it would be fine when I asked about feeding Braxton a good steak (we treated our first dog, Smoke, to the same just before we dropped him off to the Vet’s to be euthanized many years ago) , so we cooked the big sirloin I had picked up earlier on Monday, and cut it up in small bites. Braxton could smell it cooking and his appetite improved dramatically when we brought it to him. We hand fed it to him, and he ate about half then and about 2 hours later he finished off most of what was left. We were blessed to have about 3 hours of good quality time with Braxton before the Vet arrived, and we petted and loved on Braxton for the full time. We were softly rubbing his head and ears while the Vet gave him a shot to put him asleep, and kept it up through the next injection which completed the procedure. 


We had told the Vet earlier that our plan was to bury Braxton in the backyard, and he said that was fine. After I prepared the grave site, we wrapped Braxton in one of the sheets that we used to always put in the back seat whenever Braxton traveled with us, which was often. Braxton had always traveled with Shannon and then us, having never spent a night at a Vet’s or a kennel until this past weekend…he was just part of the family and everyone knew to expect Braxton would be with us when we visited. We also put Braxton’s leash that Shannon had gotten him years before, which we had kept using, in the grave with Braxton…the leash was also our way of saying that Braxton was our last pet. There would never be another pet that could match the joy Braxton had brought us these past 8 1/2 years and, even if one could come close, we just wouldn’t want to face the prospect of going through another ordeal like we’ve experienced the past few days.


We would appreciate your prayers for us as we begin to adjust our lives without our precious dog, Braxton.


Blessings,


Stuart & Teresa                                                                                                    

May 8, 2007                                                   


 

Shannon’s Special Gift To Us...as shared by her dad, Stuart, on February 11, 2001:

During worship service today, I couldn’t help but reflect some on how our lives were so dramatically changed 2 years ago on this date as Teresa and I sat in Dr. Coleman’s office with Shannon and her mom, Susan, and heard the word “leukemia.” This past Tuesday was the one year anniversary of Shannon’s bone marrow drive, during which 420 new donors had blood drawn in order to be placed on the national registry. While the challenges and heartache that resulted from Shannon’s battle with leukemia and her bone marrow transplant last March were often unbearable, there were some special times of laughter and joy….I’d like to share some about a special gift that Shannon left us.


That gift is Braxton, Shannon’s special golden retriever. Shannon got Braxton while at Georgia Southern University (not a decision that I particularly agreed with at the time!). He was just a puppy and soon developed a severe case of mange….so bad that two vets advised putting him to sleep. But Shannon’s love and persistence led her to another vet, and before long (and a few hundred dollars later) the problem was solved. Shannon had a special love of animals, especially dogs, and she was so patient and diligent in her efforts to train Braxton. He loves to travel, sitting in the back seat with his head propped up looking out the back window; he is definitely a ‘house dog’ and so well mannered - much more obedient than our first dog, Smoke. In fact, Shannon taught Braxton to whisper, something that was a particular delight for her.


Well, Shannon had moved back to Atlanta from Albany just a couple of months before her diagnosis, and she asked Teresa and me if we could keep Braxton for two weeks or so until she got settled someplace. Even though we had been empty nesters for years and with no pets to restrict our activity (Smoke had long since gone to doggy heaven), we agreed to keep the mutt. The most humorous part of this story has to do with how the rules around the house kept changing. First, Teresa limited Braxton to the backyard or the utility room area where he slept.  Two weeks turned into two months and we were enjoying his company…and then we heard the word leukemia. By this time, Braxton had moved into the den where he was allowed to sleep. I had forgotten how much having a dog around the house meant to me. I remember telling Shannon a couple of months later what a joy Braxton had been to me.


Since we were closer to Piedmont Hospital than Shannon’s mom, whenever Shannon was out of the hospital during 1999 she generally crashed in her room at our house. Before long, it became acceptable for Braxton to go to Shannon’s room with her and sleep there…but no way was the dog to get on the bed (as he had been able to do at Shannon’s house in Albany). Within a short time, Shannon figured that when she was able to move into a place of her own it would be an apartment, where a 90 pound dog would probably not be welcomed, so we officially adopted him into our home with Shannon’s blessing and to our delight! Well, by the summer of 1999 it was a given that the dog was bending the rules a bit further by jumping up on the bed with Shannon, but our bedroom was definitely off limits. After Shannon moved into her apartment in November, 1999, the house rules were pretty much back to normal….stay in the den, dog.


After the horrendous time in Boston and Shannon’s funeral, we got back into a normal routine… except that we started letting Braxton come into our room at night and sleep on the floor during a heavy rain or thunderstorm because he would get scared and whimper. I don’t know when it started but, you guessed it, before long that mutt was up on the bed between Teresa and me every time it rained!  Since he makes weird noises during the night and I’m such a light sleeper, unless there’s a storm Braxton sleeps in the den. But one of the great joys of our day now is to let him come into our room and jump up on the bed for awhile the first thing in the morning. We just lay there and rub Braxton’s head and pet him like there’s no tomorrow (one of Shannon’s favorite things was to lay her head in my lap and let me rub her head, bald or otherwise, as long as I could).  So much for house rules.


I told Teresa a few days ago that Braxton is such an extension of Shannon and his personality has so much of her special handiwork that comes out, it just makes me feel good to be able to comfort him in some ways….seems like he has been in my office a dozen times since I sat down to write this to get his head rubbed! Those of you who have not been close to a dog before may think this is nuts, but Braxton is just that special….and we told Shannon we’d take good care of him.


Have a blessed week,

Stuart 
 


A Snapshot of Shannon's Professional Life

Shannon was very diligent, believed in excellence, and sought to do the best job possible, wherever she worked.  Below are some personal comments that Shannon provided on her new website a few weeks after relapsing in November, 1999:


I'd like to introduce myself and give you a little background. I am a native of Atlanta - born and raised in Gwinnett County. I graduated from Georgia Southern University in 1994 with a B.S. in Communications. Following a productive internship, I moved to Albany, GA and joined WALB-TV. My responsibilities were as follows:
Creative Services Director - Writing, Shooting, Digital Production.
Promotion Manager - Very exciting! Managed the building of the department "from the ground up".
Marketing Executive - Developed relationships and unique marketing concepts.


I was diagnosed with Leukemia in February, 1999. Following chemotherapy, I went into remission. A significant step in "starting over" was joining Sprint PCS in November. Despite the good fortune of remission and new career horizons, my leukemia relapsed a few weeks ago during Thanksgiving.Working together with my fundraising and support committee and The National Foundation for Transplants is the most important event of my life. All donations will contribute to my having a bone marrow transplant, which is necessary for me to win the battle against Leukemia.


A personal statement from Shannon...I have been privileged to have earned several awards in my brief time in my chosen career. I earned an award from the Society of Professional Journalist (SPJ) for "Scared Straight", a special series on youth boot camps in Georgia. This three day series highlighted the positives and negatives of Georgia's boot camps.After nearly two years in Creative Services, I approached WALB-TV's station manager about starting a Promotions Department (there was none in place at the time). He gave me that opportunity. I traveled to sister stations, began working with NBC, doing anything to get ideas about my new endeavor. I literally built my own department from the ground up. I learned about traffic, audience rating software, and started thinking "out of the box." An example of my success as the Promotion Manager is the annual "Business After Hours," an event partnered with the Chamber of Commerce that is the largest gathering of local business persons in Albany. I used this event as a means to promote WALB-TV, generate new clients, and, in turn, increase station revenues.


My next goal at WALB-TV was to get involved as a Marketing Executive. Again, I approached the station manager with my idea; he agreed. This resulted in many new businesses advertising with WALB-TV and getting those clients involved in station/client partnerships. An example of my success as a Marketing Executive is "On the Net" a weekly news series sponsored by one of my clients. We brainstormed about ways to build their brand and I researched possible solutions. The client is a computer teaching center with a wide variety of topics already on file. We used those topics as ground work for a weekly segment that would do several things: 1) educate viewers about the internet and computing; 2) increase viewer awareness about the client's business, therefore increasing traffic to her store; and 3) generate revenue for WALB-TV.


Special Award in Shannon’s Memory

Below is an email from Shannon's friend, Tammy, who worked with her at Sprint PCS. What follows Tammy's email is the presentation made by Denise Barrett from Sprint while introducing “The Shannon Mosher Award.” 

 

Stuart, I have attached the letter that I gave to Denise.  Denise said she stuck pretty much to this guideline during her presentation. Everyone in the room was very moved by the presentation and most of the contribution forms were picked up.  I can empathize with you.  I only knew Shannon for a very short time yet I felt as though we had been friends forever. I miss her dearly and think of her every day.  Keep in touch and let me know how I can help in the

future.

 

Tammy 

 

November 2, 2000

Hello Everyone, Please let me introduce myself, I am Denise Barrett from the Major markets team in Atlanta.   It is with Great Honor that I introduce to you, “The Shannon Mosher Award” .  Before I show you this award and tell you how you can win it, I would like to give you a little background about “SHANNON” and what a special person she is.  SHANNON MOSHER came to work at Sprint PCS on the morning of Nov 1, 1999 exactly one year ago yesterday.  I remember vividly the huge smile on her face and the way she glowed as she told the sales team how happy she was to have landed “the perfect job” and to work for Sprint PCS. She went on to say how she had recently battled with Leukemia but was currently in remission.   The sales team was a little awed to say the least.

 

Later in November, Shannon relapsed and over the next few months, she was faced with another round of chemo, a search for a suitable donor and a bone marrow transplant.  Through it all, Shannon was always positive and upbeat. One flash of her “Perma Smile” if you will, was enough to uplift anyone for the rest of the day. Shannon was a team player and always willing to help others, even in the face of adversity. Shannon was an inspiration to all that knew her.


With Shannon’s guidance Atlanta won the award for the best video in the region at the February 2000 Sales Rally in Kansas City. This quote from Karen Vandorselear paints a clear picture of Shannon’s work ethic. “Besides “Loving her Job”, I remember the effort Shannon put into our “Award Winning” video….producer, director, writer, editor and camera man, all while she was undergoing chemo and all that entails.  She pulled us all together and through her vision we made the winning video.  This is exemplary of Shannon. Inspirational despite her adversity.”


At this time, I would like to present to you “The Shannon Mosher Award”  (show award) .  “The Shannon Mosher Award” is exemplary of sales excellence in the face of adversity. “The Shannon Mosher Award” is a traveling award that will be presented to the Major Markets team with the highest percentage over quota achievement for the quarter.


(After applause)


In closure:

Shannon Mosher had a heartfelt desire to inspire others who were facing the same challenges that she faced. The Shannon Mosher Memorial Foundation has been recently established to carry on the legacy of Shannon and to help others who are challenged by Leukemia.


The American Cancer Society projects that of the 30,000 cases of leukemia reported each year there are 21,000 deaths.  This is a staggering 70%.  There are not enough bone marrow donors on the national registry and there is not enough medical research done on bone marrow transplants.  The Shannon Mosher Memorial Fund is forwarding 90% of all donations to medical research, bone marrow drives and aid to families suffering from Leukemia.  While Shannon was still in the hospital recovering from her transplant, one of our sales reps was telling her about their not so great day and Shannon said  “ I ‘d love to be out there getting rejected everyday.”  Always positive and inspirational. We are nearing the holiday season and this is a time to reflect on what we all have to be thankful for.  If anyone would like to make a donation to “The Shannon Mosher Memorial Fund” we have donation forms available.  Donations in any amount are welcome and donations of $50.00 or more will receive a receipt for tax deductible purposes.

END


THE SHANNON MOSHER MEMORIAL FOUNDATION, INC.
3589 Rock Elm Court
Auburn , GA , 30011
US
Phone: 678-377-7036
Email: stuartmosher@AOL.COM