A Family's Hope for "Brighter Tomorrows"

March 12, 2018 07:42 PM

(ABC 6 News)—In just four words one southeast Minnesota family's world came crashing down, "your child has cancer." That was the news delivered to them 20 years ago, today. While that cancer is long gone, they've made a vow to help others facing what is possibly the worst day of their lives.

"The doctor came in and said, 'we're sorry but your child has cancer,' and honestly from that moment on I don't think I heard anything more the doctor said that day," said Sherrie Decker whose daughter was diagnosed with cancer.  


On March 12, 1998, seven-year-old Shanna and her family, found out she had bone cancer.

"Totally normal, living my life running outside to my femur shattering because of my tumor within three weeks," said Shanna Lunasin.

Only a few months after her diagnosis, she had to have part of her leg amputated and she went through chemotherapy for nearly a year.

A tough journey that led Sherrie Decker, Shanna’s mom and three other mothers who had children with cancer, make sure no other family has to face this fight alone.

"Mayo Clinic does such an awesome job of taking care of our kids medically, but could we add something to help take care of the patients emotionally," said Sherrie.

In 2007 Brighter Tomorrows was born. It’s an organization that gives family’s emotional, spiritual, and educational support by families dealing with childhood cancer.

Families like the Burrows, "We knew something was weird because she went in for an MRI in the morning and they were calling both of us, texting us you need to come in for the results this afternoon. Please bring your daughter, you should both be here," said Amanda Burrows.

Amanda's daughter Emma was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at five-years-old.

"This can’t possibly be," Amanda thought, but for many parents, it becomes a reality.

The support from Brighter Tomorrows has helped Amanda and hundreds of other families.

"It's really lonely and it's scary. It just makes it a little less lonely," Amanda said.

For Shanna, 20 years after her life-changing diagnosis, she's experienced many milestones her family worried she'd never get to see.

"To have a cancer walk down that aisle is a pretty big deal," said Sherrie.


Marissa Collins

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