January 16, 2009
Benefit for Shyanne Loveless
Order T-shirts, buttons, before Easy Street musical event
Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Cory Loveless of McLean holds the sixth grade photo of his daughter, Shyanne, who has suffered a brain stem aneurysm and is a patient at a hospital in Valhalla. In the background is his other daughter, Lexie.
Cory Loveless said his 12-year-old daughter went to school one Friday last month, just like any other day.
“One kid saw her skipping down the hallway,” he said.
But Shyanne, a cheerleader, softball player and nature lover, started complaining of severe headaches, started throwing up, and was screaming in pain.
School officials got her into an ambulance and whisked her to the hospital. Doctors later discovered that the Dryden school sixth grader suffered a brain stem aneurysm. It happened on Dec. 1, and the young girl was in a coma in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse.
Just this week, her mom, Teresa Loveless, a receptionist at Pall Trinity, and her dad, Cory, a machinist at Borg Warner, took their daughter to Blythedale Hospital in Valhalla, which is about two minutes from White Plains. Shyanne will be receiving extensive therapy as she fights her way back to recovery.
The public can support the family by attending a special benefit at Easy Street, 185 Homer Ave., Cortland, beginning at noon on Feb. 15, and running to 6 p.m. or later. Myra Cree, an office manager at Dr. Thomas SanGiacomo’s oral surgery office in Cortland, is organizing the benefit for Cory, her nephew.
“There was no question in my mind,” Cree said. “I knew I had to give them a benefit. I had to raise money for them.”
She is selling T-shirts and buttons with Shyanne’s cheerleading photo and benefit date on them and taking orders until Jan. 31. People can call her at 607-849-3085 to order.
There will be music by disc jockey Cornell Bennett, food, raffles, silent auction, a 50/50 raffle and door prizes. A free oral surgery is among the raffle tickets. Cree said the Dryden band, Hall Pass, wants to perform as well. Also, a “Shyanne Loveless Benefit Fund” is set up care of Alliance Bank, 165 Main St., Cortland, NY 13045 that people can donate too. Proceeds will help Shyanne’s family expenses and continued medical care.
“Shyanne is actually making progress,” said Teresa Loveless, who spoke from the hospital in an interview Thursday over Cory’s cell phone at his McLean home. “This time she is pretty stable. She has a feeding tube and she’s on a ventilator,” she said.
Teresa is sleeping in a chair in Shyanne’s room, to help out.
“I’m holding up OK. It’s rough being so far from home,” she said.
The hospital specializes in brain stem injuries and patients with ventilator care. “They have the best weaning program to get her off the ventilator,” said Cory, an EMT and McLean Fire Department member.
“She’s making slow, steady progress,” said Teresa. “She understands what’s going on ... She knows who I am.”
Shyanne will give her mom thumbs up to her questions, since she can’t talk, and has her cell phone nearby, though her mom doesn’t know if she can read the text messages her friends send. She reads them to her.
“I encourage her friends to keep texting,” she said.
The plan for the future is to go through physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy at this hospital. “She’s starting over from the beginning,” Teresa said.
Doctors need to find out what her capabilities are. Teresa Loveless said she’s looking at six months to “I don’t know when, of rehab.”
And Shyanne may come home on a ventilator. If that’s the case, Teresa is determined to handle that and do what it takes.
Both parents were so grateful for the upcoming benefit and all the outpouring of friends, neighbors and co-workers.
“I think it’s very good, we are definitely going to need any assistance at this time. Shyanne’s needs will be great, a lot more than we’ve experienced. It’s wonderful that so many people are so willing to do so much for her, and for us,” she said.
“It’s amazing how many people will help out, they don’t even know you,” said Cory.
The McLean Fire Department is hosting a chicken barbecue Jan. 31 for Shyanne. Teresa said staff decided to do a barbecue instead of a spaghetti supper, because Shyanne used to work the barbecues with her dad, passing out soda, twirling on her roller skates.
The Dryden School District has headed up several funders and women who know Teresa wanted to do something special.
“We wanted to make a comforting quilt for the little girl and her family,” said Larie Cifaratta of Cortland, a friend of Teresa’s. She didn’t know any quilters in the county so she reached out to quilters on the Internet through a “Quilt in a Day” web site, explaining Shyanne’s situation and the project, which they called “Shy’s Angels.”
“All I asked for was one or two blocks and people started sending them from all over: Australia, Canada, and just about every state in the U.S. is represented,” she said.
They posted the request on Dec. 3. “Within seven minutes of this being out there, I had five people say, ‘yup I will help.’ And it grew.”
She organized a work day with large tables with a couple hundred blocks and women to staff sewing machines and they went at it. One quilt will go to Shyanne’s sister, Lexie, 4, and others will be raffled off at the benefit.
The parents said one lesson from the situation is how quickly life can change.
“I have always said, ‘Life is short,’” said Teresa. “You need to live it as happily and as much as you can. Just enjoy life. Enjoy what you have. Be thankful for what you have. Treasure it, every day.”
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