"You are a role model for our state and our nation. The dedication shown by donating so much of your time and energy to encouraging those facing difficult medical circumstances is a great example for us all. Your list of accomplishments from raising money for charitable organizations to organizing Relay for Life teams are outstanding achievements for anyone, yet alone a teenager. Your service in those difficult situations serves as a reminder to all Minnesotans that we should appreciate every day and never take a single moment for granted." – Norm Coleman, United States Senator




"Inspiration, hope, strength, joy, and perseverance are just a few words to describe your many wonderful qualities! Our family is so blessed to have you and your family as dear friends. Your support and comfort during the difficult times has sustained us. Your involvement in our many triumphs has humbled us." – Liz Canan, President, Brighter Tomorrows, INC





"Thank you SO MUCH for coming to see my son. You did more for him than anyone else has been able to do. You made him see that he can still do anything he wants after his rotationplasty. You turned a circumstance that terrified him into something to look forward to. Before you talked to him, he was angry and said that he was going to be a “freak” after the surgery. After you left he said: 'I want to have THAT surgery.' Thank you for putting yourself out there so that others can have hope and not be afraid. Thank you!" – Mother of a twelve year old boy facing rotationplasty



"I have known Ms. Decker for the past ten years and, on multiple occasions, have shared the podium with her at fundraisers for the Ronald McDonald House and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. I have also co-presented with her on several occasions, including the Optimist Club of Rochester and Mayo Clinic Dental Reviews. Ms. Decker is always a huge hit with the audience, and in short, is a fantastic speaker; fluent, articulate, and entertaining!" – Thomas C. Shives, M.D., Professor of Orthopedic Surgery, Mayo Graduate School of Medicine





"Many times you were my 'happy thought' when I thought the pain would never end. You are amazing to my life." – Hannah Porter, cancer patient, age seventeen






"I can't even think about you ever without tears welling up in my eyes. Your words, much like your presence, are powerful, wonderful, and so full of hope and life. I will never forget that night in my hospital room. You live for so much more than you can possibly know. My thanks to you and your family will never be enough. Keep living, just the way you all are!" – Amber Benike, cancer survivor





"Shanna, whatever you were raised on to be such a fine woman should be bottled and sold." – Dr. William Shaughnessy, M.D. Pediatrics Orthopedics and Scoliosis, Mayo Clinic






"We will be forever grateful God led us to you. You have loved and supported us like no one else ever could have. We have laughed (hard) and cried (hard) together. You have made this cancer journey just a little easier to walk. You have shown us how to live each day as God's gift to us." – The Kelly Family, treated for their ten year old's cancer at the Mayo Clinic





"Shanna brought our son a care package from the “Hearts of Hope” that she started! He warmed right up to her, even though he had been crabby all day long and sore from surgery. He told us after she left that he got up, only because she had been there, and he knew then that he could." – Glenda Earl, mother of son with rotationplasty


"As one of the surgeons for the operation done on Shanna's leg while she endured her cancer experience, I have a great interest in what she has done and will do in coming years. I had the opportunity to hear her speak professionally at the Mayo Clinic International Alumni Reunion five years ago. I was captivated by the words and emotions she used to draw the audience to her story even though I have heard the story many times before. I recall that many in the audience were moved to tears, and this was as much about her skill in communication as it was about her past treatment and recovery. I would recommend her to any group, because more than being extremely talented; she cares deeply about those she changes the lives of." – Kristy L. Weber, M.D., Virginia M. and William Percy Chair of Orthopedic Surgery, Professor, Chief, Division of Orthopedic Oncology, Johns Hopkins University





"If I didn't have the surgery, I wouldn't have been able to do tricks that only Shanna and I can do. And then, I wouldn't have met Shanna either." – Madisyn Ruoff, rotationplasty patient, age seven






"I've known Shanna for eight years through our shared interest in local charities like the Ronald McDonald House and the American Cancer Society. Shanna has become my "go-to-gal" for filling in as a co-host on the Y105 Morning Show for years now. She's fearless, she's endearing, she's wise beyond her years; and her genuine sincerity makes it easy for her to convey the message that every day is truly a gift." - Tom Garrett, Program Director and Morning Host, Soft Rock Y105 KYBA FM


"I have been a Lions Club member for more than twenty years. In twenty years of listening to a wide variety of speakers, ONLY ONE has received a standing ovation – Shanna Decker. Her story is riveting. More than that, she turns her words into deeds that rouse the rest of us into greater action. I can honestly say that I have never heard a more gifted and inspirational young person speak of her life, experience, and faith. Enough superlatives cannot be attached to Shanna's comfortable and persuasive speaking ability." – Rev. Dr. Norman W. Wahl, Executive Pastor, Bethel Lutheran Church





"Not many people can visit with a terminal child, but Shanna can. Shanna has helped me to want to make more of an impact in the world around me, and because of her, I know that I can. She has shown me how much more there is to life. I'm so happy in a sea of fakes to have a real person that I can look up to." – Gabrielle Thompson, cancer survivor and author, age fifteen




"I was one of the students you came and talked to at church. I just wanted to say that you made me realize that all of the little stuff that happens at school and in my everyday life that everyone makes a big deal about, doesn't really matter. You really changed the way I live my life. I will laugh more and love more! Thank You so much!" - Alexandra Wurf, seventh grade



"Having known Shanna since her cancer diagnosis at the age of seven, and hearing her speak on several occasions, I cannot help but praise all that she has done to touch lives. Foremost in her story is the belief that she has faced these medical life challenges for a greater purpose. She tells her own story with both passion and heart. While I'm sure there have been private moments of lament and wonder; as a speaker she is both inspired and inspirational in sharing a compelling story of overcoming adversity." – Warren D. Anderson, Pediatric Chaplain, Mayo Eugenio Litta Children's Hospital







"You make us very proud with everything you do. (Even if we do have to put gas in your car.)" – Love Mom and Dad





"Shanna is a regular speaker for my pediatric oncology nursing class, and has been so for the past eight years. Shanna’s presence in the classroom is incredible – she shares a sense of hope and inspiration for all. She is very articulate and mature for her age, and I am constantly amazed at the impact she has in the classroom. Staff members have said that they feel better prepared to work with patients and families after hearing Shanna speak, and that they feel 'emotionally charged' and are excited to bring that sense of hope for other patients back to the bedside." – Amy Chihak, MSN, RN-BC, Nursing Education Specialist, Mayo Eugenio Litta Children’s Hospital



I first met Shanna in the fall of 2009 where she was speaking at a major conference for senior living executives. Upon introduction, I was instantly amazed at her smile and energy. As we began to chat, I realized how special Shanna was – and IS! Her love of life, commitment to her cause, and her unique ability to articulate the worth of humanity – whatever their situation, was unforgettable. Since our first meeting, we have worked on additional projects that have made lifelong impressions on those individuals fortunate enough to hear Shanna’s story. Shanna will be a friend for life and in inspiration for an eternity." - Wayne Langley, Vice President Sodexo Senior Services, Headquartered in Gaithersburg MD



"People of all ages can relate to the adversity and the joy that God has allowed to happen in Shanna's life. Her presentation at the 2010 LCMS National Youth Gathering was unforgettable! You can't leave her talk feeling bad about your circumstances - only thankful for seeing God work through another person to brighten your day. I highly recommend Shanna as a speaker." - Micah Parker, Trust Guy Ministries – National Christian Motivational Speaker
Website created by: Melissa Zimmerman