Shanna was a little soldier

Sunday, September 09, 2012    

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Shanna Campbell, affectionately called Sally, spent her eighteenth birthday in bed at home on August 6 reportedly oblivious to the world around her. She took her final breath three days later.

That was the last lap of an approximately twenty-one-month struggle with brain tumour for the Lyndhurst community native.

On a health journey, which was laden with uncertainties the teenager is remembered for displaying an unshakable faith in making a full recovery.

At the September 1 Thanksgiving Service for her life at the Mile Gully New Testament Church of God where she was a member, she was likened to a "little soldier" in the eulogy read by her sister Heather (one of her caregivers) because of the courage with which she faced her illness.

She added that Shanna was a warm and caring person and even though she was in pain she took the time to find out how others were doing.

Faithlyn Dowdie, Shanna's aunt, in a tribute said, "I always admired her strength and her faith. Here she was with a chronic disease and she never once asked, "Why me?"

In a tribute from a representative of the Mile Gully New Testament Church of God it was said that Shanna "recommitted" her life to God last year.

More than once in the reflections on Shanna's life during her illness it was said that she discouraged persons from being saddened by her condition but instead asked both her family members and visitors to keep praying for her.

She held on to the possibility of fulfilling her dreams, which included building a career as a teacher of Mathematics and to, one day, be able to assist her family.

Following a period of radiation treatment, in January she told this newspaper that she felt strong enough to go back to school.

It was also disclosed at the funeral service by Shanna's neighbour Latoy Williams-Graham that around the same time she travelled on her own from her community to Williamsfield in another section of the parish to attend the Annual High Mountain Coffee 10K Road Race.

"She wanted to do everything and go everywhere like she was not ill," Williams-Graham said.

Shanna's actions displayed a will to live despite a downward spiral in her health.

Heather said that seven surgeries were done on her brain up to the time of her passing. She said that towards the end of her life the tumour grew back twice the previous size.

Bishop Alfred Morris said that Shanna never dressed down in her illness and that was an indication that she had not given up on life. He urged the congregation in his sermon to remember the creator in the days of their youth.

Bishop Morris said that Shanna is gone, but "death will be experienced by everyone", and it is important to be prepared.

"In order to remember God we must put interest in him. We have to acknowledge his goodness. We have to acknowledge that he is the creator. The life that we live belongs to God. He shared his breath with us. God will judge the quality of every man's life," he said.

Member of Parliament for North West Manchester Mikael Phillips said that there is a "lesson" from the level of support that Shanna received.

"Her family and the wider community did reach out to her. Heather gave her all to her sister no matter how financially hard it was. That is what family is about. With faith you can overcome anything. The amount of phone calls I get say this is it and she overcome. Sally lived a short life but one of joy," he said.

Councillor Faith Sampson (PNP-John's Hall Division) said that she knew Shanna as an infant and watched her grow into a "promising young woman." She told the family that holding onto Shanna's faith could assist them in moving forward.

Shanna's twin Shanique died at six weeks old. She now leaves behind her mother Norma, father Lloyd, older siblings Heather, Neileah, Kemar and Zalatee and younger sister Lloydisha and brothers Lloyd, Sandre and Andre.



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