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SHANE BURCAWShane Burcaw is a beacon of light and an inspiration! This 21-year-old suffers from spinal muscular atrophy, a disease that slowly erodes his muscles and their functions. He has never been able to walk, and did not experience many activities people think are typical – like running, jumping, and physically playing. He will eventually lose the ability to move on his own, talk on his own, and even breathe on his own. The worst part is, he has almost no control of any of this. His disease will eventually kill him.

And yet, Shane refuses to be depressed about his condition. He seems happy and grateful just to be able to be on earth, having the experiences he is able to have, and surrounded by people who love him. He says that although his disease is terrifying, the human mind is extraordinary. “I have complete control over my thoughts, my feelings, and my dreams, and that’s one thing SMA will never take away from me.” He chooses to laugh in the face of his disease, and create a life of gratitude and face each day with a positive mindset.