For a parent, there is nothing scarier than your newborn baby having complications only hours after coming into the world. For Cora and Troy Lockhart, who experienced a complication-free pregnancy, their life turned upside down when they got the news that their daughter Shiann Lockhart would need a heart transplant at 5-weeks-old. The process and recovery of the heart transplant were a huge challenge for Shiann and her family. But after recovery Shiann was able to live a reasonably normal and healthy life for about a year.
Unexpectedly Shiann’s health took a turn for the worse when she contracted mono. Mono is a virus that can be easily contracted with a post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder. PTLD is a very rare complication that only happens in 2 percent of transplant patients. For the Lockhart family, it was a heartbreaking diagnosis. As hard as it was for Shiann’s parents to hear the hard news, it was more difficult to watch Shiann nearly die while going through chemotherapy.
Lockhart told TODAY how hard it was to watch Shiann suffer on chemo, “Enough was enough, we thought. She has been through too much in her brief life to have to deal with anything more.” Shiann’s parents decided to stop the chemo treatments and go home were they could get hospice care in the peace and comfort of their own home. They wanted to make their little girl’s short life to experience as much happiness as she could before she passed.
Shiann’s parents came up with the idea to make a bucket list for Shiann. They wanted her to experience as much joy as she could. The bucket list had 73 fun activities from simply catching fireflies to attending prom.
Shiann arrived at a prom put on by her church that was planned just for her! She wore a beautiful dress and princes’s tiara. She arrived in style in a limo, which was another bucket list item. Shiann was crowned prom queen and she and her father danced together. A father/daughter dance that will forever be a cherished memory for her father.
Dipping her feet in the ocean was another item on her bucket list, but it was not possible because Shiann was not allowed to travel and lived in Ohio. Friends of the family brought ocean water all the way to Ohio from North Carolina to fulfill Shiann’s dream. Shiann happily splashed in a kiddie pool full of ocean water.
Shiann’s time on earth may have been short but it was full. Her family’s dedication to giving Shiann experiences that were joyful moments that life has to offer inspires us all to take nothing for granted — even catching fireflies or putting our feet in the ocean. Live life to it’s fullest every day.
Sign up to get alerts from Joe!