Shani is my cousin, the only other girl on my Dad’s side of the family. Her father, my uncle Warren, passed away from cancer three years ago. So it was a particularly unwelcome punch in the guts for the family when Shani herself had her own brush with cancer in February of this year.
Shani, a relatively well known gospel singer and mother of one based in California, was admitted to the ICU with a severe migraine, vomiting and a fever. They found a 3cm brain tumor requiring surgery, and blood tests indicated Shani was in acute liver failure.
Shani’s sister-in-law, Andrea (later diagnosed with and treated for cancer herself) was quick to set up a Facebook group to keep praying friends and relatives informed. Before long, the group had over 5,000 members.
Many months and several surgeries later, Shani has completed her treatment and is enjoying being cancer-free. She continues to sport her cropped hairdo with pride, cheered on by loved ones, some of whom voluntarily went for the chop themselves in solidarity earlier in the year.
Shani’s strength, calm and steady faith through the crazy ups and downs of this year have been an inspiration to many, and her loyal Facebook following memorably demonstrated how social media can be used to mobilise community, goodwill and support.
More of Shani’s story is in her own words here: https://vimeo.com/278076738/03bce74be3