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Golden Girl chosen for trip

September 25, 2018

CEREDO — For one member of the Golden Girls Group home in Ceredo, her dream might have been a bit out of reach. But with the help of a teacher and a friend, Shana Flake was granted a wish she won’t soon forget.

Spring Valley High School health science teacher Tammy Fuller has known and worked with Flake since her freshman year of high school, and last year in October she found out that Flake’s medical condition, Panhypopituitarism, would qualify her for a once-in-a-lifetime experience provided by the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Panhypopituitarism is a condition of inadequate or absent production of the anterior pituitary hormones. It is frequently the result of other problems that affect the pituitary gland and either reduce or destroy its function. Without medication, Flake would not be able to lead a normal life.

“When Shana and I met with the Make-A-Wish Committee from the Greater Pennsylvania/WV Regional Office, she had to fill out an application with her top wishes. Swimming with dolphins was her number one wish, but the Foundation made it possible for Shana to do everything she asked for,” Fuller said. “I just wanted to see her enjoy life and get to do things she has always dreamed of doing. It was a joy to watch her experience this trip.”

Day one of the trip was consumed by travel, but day two exploded with excitement as they swam with dolphins in the waters of Key Largo, Florida. Flake said she cried when she saw them, and that the dolphins circled her multiple times.

“They liked me!” Flake said. Accompanied by Fuller and Golden Girl staff nurse Shirley Olson, the trio had the opportunity to pet dolphins while they swam, and the dolphins even painted a picture for Flake that she now proudly displays on her windowsill at the Golden Girl Group Home.

Over the course of the next 72 hours, Flake would be able to “live the dream” a little longer. From glass-bottom boat tours to dolphin shows, parrot shows and even crocodiles, Flake checked all the boxes off of her dream trip list before returning home.

For Flake, the fight for her life began long ago, and few can imagine what the now 18-year-old has gone through already and will continue to go through on a day-to-day basis.

The Golden Girl Group Home staff, along with Flake’s family and friends, have gathered around her in support, helping her to understand the severity of her condition and how to best combat it, all while encouraging her own independence.

“Shana has to be in charge of her own condition. Every day she is being educated on what she can and cannot eat and how to care for herself now that she is an adult. With fun, love and encouragement from her caretakers at Golden Girl Group Home, Shana will lead a long, full life.”

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