Shahonna was diagnosed with Aplastic Anemia as a child.  She spent the next 23 years in and out of the hospital.  Due to her unique ancestry she could not find her marrow match and was unable to have the bone marrow transplant she needed.  She never stopped advocating for herself and others.  She developed an extensive online family, giving and receiving support for other patients and their families.  

In early 2016, the National Institute of Health approved her to be a part of a unique study designed for people just like her.  Only July 27, 2016 she received a haplo/cord blood transplant and we celebrated her new birthday! Unfortunately she experienced a side effect from the chemotherapy that affected her heart and kidneys. She passed away on August 17, 2016.  

Her greatest joy was her daughter Makenna.  Please leave a message or story about your frienship with Shahonna.  She brought so many people hope and we want to share that with Makenna.  
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I "met" Shahonna when we made the Good Blood video. She also often appeared on many of the Aplastic Anemia facebook pages I follow. One night, she posted she was thinking about going to NIH to participate in an transplant study. She was looking for resources - a place to stay and caregiver in Bethesda. Since I live near Bethesda, I offered to help. An instant internet friendship was formed. She was in awe of my ability to put on my boots and jump in when my 18 month old was diagnosed and got her transplant. I was in awe of her ability to fight for 23 years, her never give up attitude and her pep (as my 10 year old put it).
Over the months that followed, it became apparent that her recovery should happen at my house, 36 miles from NIH. My family has already done the post transplant routine, germ patrol, timed medications, blood draws, we were experienced as Shahonna's doctors put it.

She encountered many delays in transplant but on July 19, she was admitted to NIH. On July 27, Aimee and I stood by her side as her new cells went in. We sang Happy Birthday and promised her cake when she was able to eat again. That day was supposed to be the start of something great.

She rode the rollercoaster of recovery for 11 days until her heart, damaged from the transplant preparation, went into cardiac arrest. From there, her organs began to struggle and she developed a fungal infection. She passed away, on her terms and not a moment before she was ready, on July 17, 2016.


"Come in, sit down, and don't leave until you have taught me all I need to know". Rest in peace and with a healthy body, my friend. I will carry on your legacy.

~ Heather Dalik

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I met Shahonna via Facebook after my husband was diagnosed with Aplastic Anemia in 2013. I was looking for some support groups or anything that would help us learn more about AA. I saw Shahonna's story and could not believe what she had been through for so many years yet she never gave up, she would find the energy to run a race after having transfusions just days before. She fought hard, really hard and I admired her for that and her persistence to win against this awful disease. After my husband lost his battle with AA in 2015 I continued to follow Shahonna. I was so ecstatic when I found out she was finally going to get her chance for a life without transfusions and hopefully a normal life one day. She touched so many people and made such a difference in so many lives she will never be forgotten. God bless her and her family.

~ Lynn Sheffield

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Dear Heather Mitchell Dalik, I just want to thank you for giving me updates to read about how Shahonna was doing. We worked together years ago taking care of a lady who had Alzheimers. At the time she was studying to be on Tv,She was going to be the next "Oprah" and she was going to hire me to cook and clean for her.We shared many laughs, sometimes she would come in when she had a bad day strutting she was spitting fire, i would talk to her and she would calm down and laugh about what ever it was that had her so steamed, She graduate from the college and got her certificate to go on Tv, she showed me some of the stories she was working on. Her Mother set her natural hair in rollers and then would fix it so beautiful, she had amazing suits she would wear everyday to school. She was an amazing friend to me when i needed one so much and i would always leave smiling, for her personality and fun ways made me happy We lost touch after several years went by, i kept seeking her on fb, then one day her picture was in our community paper that comes out each week and the story of her disease and what all she has been through. I contacted her and we messaged each other that whole evening, i told her how i had missed her and wondered how she was doing, we agreed to get together when she was better and go have lunch and catch up. I know one day i will meet her in heaven again, i look forward to that time with anticipation. Thank you so much for keeping everyone informed about her. May God Bless you.

~ Donna Tracey

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I met Shahonna in middle school. We quickly became best friends and spent hours at her parents home, hanging out, dancing, listening to music, walking to her grandmothers house next door or across to the golf course and hitting balls into the pond. She would come to my house for sleepovers as well. I remember laughing until my guts aches and tears rolled down my face. We did talent shows together and choreographed our own dance. We sang together with her cousin Tracy. We lost touch some when she went to Tech but still talked when we had spare time. A few years after graduation when my parents needed someone to help in caring for my grandmother with Alzheimer's, Shahonna was the one with all the patience and love needed to give my parents an occasional much needed break to breathe and be able to do normal functions away from home. I recently learned of Shahonna's illness and joined BeTheMatch, even though I knew it was a long shot. I just wanted to try, to give back if possible, to a friend who had given me so much joy and laughter and so many amazing memories. I didn't have many friends in school. I wasn't cool or popular. But Shahonna didn't care. She was one of the funniest, kindest, strongest, most intelligent and all around amazing people I've ever had the pleasure to know. She will be missed by so many. She was loved by everyone who knew her and she touched so many lives, probably in ways she never knew. All my love and prayers to her family. Shahonna will always be in my heart and someone I am proud to have been able to call a friend. I love you girl! 🙏🏻❤️

~ Stephanie Dobbins

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We live in Australia. My then 6 year old daughter was diagnosed with SAA in May 2015. Being so rare I was on the search for information, help and support. I read many blog entries and FB post form Shahonna she was a brilliant eloquent writer. The fact she survived so long on transfusions was amazing. It gave me hope that my daughter can make it through her hundreds of transfusions. We are now +100 days post BMT and she is doing well we just got home after 6 months in hospital. RIP lovely Shahonna your inspiration lives on.

~ Sharron Sheining

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Shahonna Grove the stories I could say that I had with her. Stories from getting her house ready to the laughter we had either sitting on the couch or talking on the phone. She made the best peanut butter eggs at Easter. I will never forget the time you called us Bonnie and Clyde you know where that come from. She was a very strong woman that love God and her daughter and her friends. Every time I talk to her she always give me the devil about my health. If I went to her house she would want to go for pancakes. Pancakes were her favorite. Her daughter Kenna will always be in my heart. I think of her like a child of mine. No matter what Shahonna and I would talk about we would always laugh about whatever it was. You will always be missed by me and many others. Forever in my heart.

Love you
Adam Gross

~ Adam Gross

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Shahonna Grove the stories I could say that I had with her. Stories from getting her house ready to the laughter we had either sitting on the couch or talking on the phone. She made the best peanut butter eggs at Easter. I will never forget the time you called us Bonnie and Clyde you know where that come from. She was a very strong woman that love God and her daughter and her friends. Every time I talk to her she always give me the devil about my health. If I went to her house she would want to go for pancakes. Pancakes were her favorite. Her daughter Kenna will always be in my heart. I think of her like a child of mine. No matter what Shahonna and I would talk about we would always laugh about whatever it was. You will always be missed by me and many others. Forever in my heart.

Love you
Adam Gross

~ Adam Gross

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Dear Heather Mitchell Dalik, I just want to thank you for giving me updates to read about how Shahonna was doing. We worked together years ago taking care of a lady who had Alzheimers. At the time she was studying to be on Tv,She was going to be the next "Oprah" and she was going to hire me to cook and clean for her.We shared many laughs, sometimes she would come in when she had a bad day strutting she was spitting fire, i would talk to her and she would calm down and laugh about what ever it was that had her so steamed, She graduate from the college and got her certificate to go on Tv, she showed me some of the stories she was working on. Her Mother set her natural hair in rollers and then would fix it so beautiful, she had amazing suits she would wear everyday to school. She was an amazing friend to me when i needed one so much and i would always leave smiling, for her personality and fun ways made me happy We lost touch after several years went by, i kept seeking her on fb, then one day her picture was in our community paper that comes out each week and the story of her disease and what all she has been through. I contacted her and we messaged each other that whole evening, i told her how i had missed her and wondered how she was doing, we agreed to get together when she was better and go have lunch and catch up. I know one day i will meet her in heaven again, i look forward to that time with anticipation. Thank you so much for keeping everyone informed about her. May God Bless you.

~ Donna Tracey

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My hero. I still can't believe that you're gone. In my heart I know that you arrived in heaven at a high velocity speed, your arrival trumpeted by a heavenly choir fitting of your big personality. You were, and still are, larger than life. Still, I miss you. I used to think I was an advocate. I used to think I had a voice for AA. You, my friend, were THE voice. The voice of many for AA awareness, Be The Match and a loyal supporter for families affected by something that you defined as a lifetime. I've only been directed by AA for the last 7 years. For you, it was a lifestyle. No one carried themselves with more dignity and grace, all the while being the Wonder Woman you were. I will keep forever our FB chats in which you asked me for advice on how to write a book. Me? What a compliment from the woman who defined inspiration. We talked late into the night once and I just reread it all. You were encouraging ME to write my second book. You would check in with me several times a week to see how I was doing with the book and inevitably, through the world that is now social media, we connected at least once a day. I used to loathe AA. Don't get me wrong, I still do, but I have made peace with it and accept all the wonderful friendships and connections that I have made as a result of AA. One of those friendships was with you. Without AA, I wouldn't have known the larger than life Shahonna Grove. You never complained about your own health and would often ask me how Drew was doing, knowing that we'd just had an appointment. You've taught me more about grace and strength than you'll ever know. I pray for peace and comfort for your family, especially your beautiful Kenna. Your contributions to the AA world are too numerous to count. Your faith, never quit attitude and refusal to give in will inspire AA families for many years. We will all make sure that the one and only Shahonna will never be forgotten. You forged a path in life that is glittering with inspiration and example. You are, and always will be, my hero. Jen

~ Jennifer D'Auteuil

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I have know Shahonna since 6th grade when three other girls, myself and Shahonna lip synced "Straight Up" by Paula Abdul. We had so much fun laughing at each other but through it all, Shahonna always took charge and knew when to get busy and when to have fun. After school, we lost touch for a very long time. We met back up on Facebook in 2010 and I learned she had this amazing young Daughter, MaKenna. We became fast friends and at that time I became her personal photographer:) Due to complications with her AA, when she needed to get blood, MaKenna would stay with us and we always had such a good time. Through that we had our ups and downs. We would lose touch for awhile, then get back together and become real close again, the fall out again and back and forth for years. No matter what we went through though, I always prayed for her, loved her, and have learned and grown from her strength. I will always owe her a lot. She made me learn that one persons pain is not the same as someone elses and it is ok to cry and hurt but you just cant live there. Pull yourself together and dust yourself off and hit that pavement hard again. I learned no matter how hard or bad something is, you FACE it. Head on. No turning back, no being scared. God has this. That actually makes me remember her favorite motto back in the first year of our friendship "I got this" she would always tell me and I always went one more and said "No, God has this" she would roll her eyes and say "atta girl".
I will miss her smile, her snarkiness , her attitude, her stamina, her strength and her love. I will always be here for MaKenna the best I can. That was a promise I made her in 2010 and I meant it from the bottom of my heart. I cant believe she is gone, but I know she is with every single one of us. One thing I know for sure, when she said she loved you...she meant it. I know she loved each one of us and we all meant a lot to her. #strongforheralways

~ Kristin Baldwin

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I met shahonna almost 2 years ago on the aplastic anemia Facebook page about 4 months after I was diognosed I was at NIH for what was supposed to be a 1 day trip and ended up being admitted for H-ATG I was alone and scared and she reached out to me and we had an instant connection. I felt like she was the only person who knew how I was feeling and what I was going through and we became the best of friends anytime I would get scared or nervous about something and we would talk she would tell me it's ok chicken little the sky isn't falling! We had such an awesome friendship she was the strongest person I ever met she always knew just what to say to motivate me to do anything I'm sad I never got my chance to meet her but she left a tremendous impact on so many people and will be missed so much

~ Patience LeBert

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I started emailing Shahonna when I heard about her AA struggle. It has been an honor to be her friend. She was a funny, brave, kind and beautiful lady! I miss writing to you. You have done so much for others while you had been going thru so much thru out the years. I was so excited when I heard about your transplant opportunity. What amazed me was her attitude with dealing with her illness. You were blessed with a beautiful daughter. Gone but not forgotten. (((Hugs))) I'm sure you are racing around in the clouds.

Vivianne Wright
Sacramento, Ca

~ VIVIANNE WRIGHT

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I met Shahonna after my wife Lisa was diagnosed with AA in August 2015. Lisa spent 4 weeks at UPenn Hospital and during that time, I searched facebook for any groups that dealt with AA. Through one of the groups, I read one of Shahonna's posts and I replied to her. We became friends on facebook and her concern for my wife was incredible. She would message me often, asking me what Lisa's counts were, how she responded to ATG, and other questions about how Lisa was doing.Oh yea, and all of this with her compassionate and witty personality sprinkled in. What's amazing is she did all of this while she was really sick herself. She was such an encouragement to many people. I've shared her blogs with my friends and I know she helped more people than she realized. I just wish I could have met her in person. This story does have a happy ending though. Through our messaging, it was clear that we were both born again believers in Jesus. Someday I'll be able to thank her face to face in eternity.

~ Jay Sikora

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I met Shahonna threw the Aplastic Anemia page on Facebook , she was always so supportive , especially so when i was first diagnosed early last year , she was such a beautiful and inspiring young woman , sweet dreams i will miss you

~ Lilly Summer

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