Shannon Seaton Memorial Fund

Shannon Seaton died April 20, 2012 at the age of 35 from metastatic inflammatory breast cancer. She left behind three children, Isaiah, 14, Owen, 6 and Lillian 3, and her husband, David.

Here he describes some of their journey: “When Shannon was diagnosed in 2010, it was devastating. In addition to emotional fears, the costs associated with the diagnosis and treatment added to our anxiety. God blessed us with a decent income and generous family, but the financial burden chopped into our budget and made saving for our children's future difficult. We've all read or heard about bake sales, benefit concerts and poker runs to help raise funds for families burdened by medical bills from cancer. Imagine if there was a fund—a pot of money set aside especially for local cancer patients—that they could turn to when the bills keep coming.”

Real Cowley County Stories

Mounting Bills

In 2010, a 35-year-old mother of two young children, ages 1 and 4, is diagnosed with terminal breast cancer. She has medical insurance, but the costs mount for many reasons: • Travel to treatments • Babysitting • High heating bill to keep mom warm • Home medical equipment • Hospital co-pays • Eating out • Burial

The family holds a poker run to defray some of the thousands of dollars in bills. “People don't realize that all these little things add up,” the woman's sister says.

Ongoing Struggles

Another local family without health insurance is forced to use credit cards in 2001 to pay for the mother's chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer. Several years later, in 2009, the husband is diagnosed with leukemia. Mom quits work to care for him; the family loses their house. Medical bills and credit problems continue to weigh on the family. “The financial repercussions go on and on,” the mother says.

Shannon's Legacy

Six months before she died, Shannon wrote the following for a column in the Arkansas City Traveler and Winfield Courier as a part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

“… Having breast cancer has taught me to enjoy the days more, even when you're tired. Cancer has not robbed me of my joy. If anything,

I smile more.

For me, I think ‘why should I give up my personality because of a disease?’ No, not today, not ever. I'm going to continue to be me through it all ... at the end of the day faith, family, friends and community heal a life. Thank you all.”

The Shannon Seaton Memorial Fund provides grants to help ease the financial burden on families in Cowley County fighting this deadly disease, and fulfills Shannon's legacy of providing kindness and comfort to her neighbors and community.

“Her personality just glowed. After talking to her you could not help but to feel better. She never complained about her illness or anything. She always talked about how blessed she was.”

— Camela Watson, friend

“I was so touched whenever Shannon would come to school, often bearing cookies she had baked with love, in spite of being sick from her treatments. She had the glow of kindness and love about her … inner peace is what comes to my mind.”

— Rags Smith, middle school teacher

“Her kindness and friendship meant a great deal to us. There was a glow about her. It touched us all …

— Lanay Williams, radiation therapist