Meet a Child with MCAD

Shawna's Story

GEMSS would like to thank Shawna and her mother for their generosity in sharing this story with us. You have made the site come to life with the addition of your thoughts and feelings. Thank you so much!

Shawna in a pink hat smiling with a pink heart
stock image of an apple on top of a stack of books

Shawna is in 4th grade and is a very active and generous little girl.  Her favorite things to do are basketball, Tae Kwon Do, horseback riding, and swimming.  She loves being with her friends and going to school every day and she is very outgoing.  When she was only 2 weeks old,  Shawna was diagnosed with MCADD through New Born Screening. 

School can be a little difficult for Shawna at times. She struggles with her fluency in reading and retaining math facts.  She goes to Intensive Title Reading and Title Math and she has improved greatly in just a matter of months.  

Shawna is her own advocate at school.  She understands her MCADD and does not hesitate to explain it to friends, teachers, nurses, doctors, and her friend’s parents.  We have an emergency plan in place at the school for teachers and nurses.  At home, Shawna is working on being more independent with her homework although it is checked when it is completed. 

Shawna is very generous toward others.  Although she is has spent a lot of time in the hospital herself, she always is worried about how other children are doing.  After receiving a wish from the Make-A-Wish Foundation, she wanted to raise money to donate to other children who are ill.  With the help of the Center for Civic Engagement at St Lawrence University Shawna helped organize Shawna's Walk For Wishes.  Shawna is proud to announce that after completing this year's, 3rd Annual Shawna's Walk For Wishes, we have raised a grand total of just over $21,000.   If you would like to check out Shawna and her mom talking about MCADD and her wish, click here to see their YouTube video.  

Her mother has some advice for teachers and that is “to not judge a book by its cover.”  “I always hear that she doesn't look sick, and many times it means that they are missing the subtle signs,” says her mother Melissa.  Her mother's advice to other parents is to “be an active advocate for your child, be an open book about the disorder, and teach your children to advocate for themselves.”