EVENT DATE: Jan 13, 2014
My name is Shannon Streight and I am 44 years old. I have been a full-time mother for 18 years, with sons ages 18 and 9, and am now on the path to earning my RN. My ultimate goals are to become an oncology and palliative care nurse. After a horrific 2 1/2 year battle, my husband died of cancer at age 41. I was so inspired by the incredible care and support we received at the hands of our oncology nurses, that I decided to return to school during my husband's illness. Unfortunately, his disease and reactions to treatment were so severe that his physical, emotional and medical needs required me to be his hands-on caregiver 24 hours a day. Of course, my children needed my attention in myriad ways as well, so I put my educational plans on hold and continued to focus on my family. It was more than a year after his death before I was emotionally ready to begin my schooling, but I am now well on my way. In fact, after toiling away for almost three years, I was just ACCEPTED TO NURSING SCHOOL on Tuesday, November 19th, 2013!!! I am thrilled to report that I will be attending an accelerated program consisting of 3 consecutive semesters, and will graduate in May of 2015.
While learning how to be a single mother, and as I continue to walk my boys through their vastly differing grief journeys, I have worked incredibly hard in school. I was able to able to maintain a 4.0 GPA and achieve Dean's List status.... well, until anatomy & physiology kicked my butt! :) The good news is that my GPA is still 3.95. :) At the same time, I am deeply involved with two bereavement organizations for children, Comfort Zone Camp and Camp Kesem. In less than three years, I have been able to raise almost $15,000.00 for these wonderful groups. I participate in runs each spring to raise awareness about childhood bereavement, while also collecting funds to send grieving children to camp for free. I am also very active with Life With Cancer, having been featured in a video production for the dedication of their new Family Center. In addition, I was the keynote speaker at their largest fundraiser of the year, The Life With Cancer Lobster Fest. Like Comfort Zone and Camp Kesem, Life With Cancer is an organization that provides all of its services for free to cancer patients, caregivers and their families. We were so blessed to discover these groups and have taken full advantage of their amazing programs, from which we have benefitted in more ways than I can possibly express. I feel compelled to volunteer my services in an attempt to pay it forward, so that other families can make use of them as well.
Upon earning my RN, I plan to continue my education so that I can become an Oncology Certified Nurse, OCN and a CHPN, or Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Nurse. I am incredibly passionate about palliative care, and intend to make it my mission to get oncologists to encourage their patients to seek palliative care immediately upon receiving their diagnoses. I know in my heart that providing palliative care will be my forte. The emphasis on patient advocacy and education, inclusion of caregivers, improving quality of life, and care of the total patient… including emotional and spiritual support and guidance… are the components that really speak to me. I am sure that my personal experience as a caregiver, as well as that of loss and grief, will enable me to provide great comfort to those in my care. It will be my honor to walk with my patients through their cancer journeys.
I truly need your help to fund my nursing school education. I endeavor each day to be the best mother I can be, while trying to complete my schooling in preparation for supporting my family for the first time. Add to that, the combination of our monumental medical debt and the loss of my husband who was our sole provider... losing our business and the foreclosure on our family home... all of these factors have made finding the money for tuition nearly impossible. If I am lucky enough to receive donations, every single dime will go directly toward my tuition, books, uniforms and other items necessary to complete my nursing program of studies and become a licensed RN.
Thank you SO MUCH for reading!
ShanRN... Class of 2015!!!