Dan and Jenna Haley are courageous parents who have rejected abortion even though their baby has been diagnosed with anencephaly and is expected to die not long after birth. Not only have they celebrated life by choosing life for their child, they’ve hit on a wonderful idea to make little Shane’s life as fulfilling as possible — before and after birth.
They’ve created a Bucket List for little Shane.
Shane, a little boy who is due in October, as been diagnosed with anencephaly, a malformation of the baby’s skull and brain. Many parents, upon receiving this heart-wrenching diagnosis, lose hope for their child’s future.
But Shane’s parents, Dan and Jenna Haley, are no ordinary parents. With a deeply-rooted faith in God, which has remained unshaken by the unclear path set before them and their son, Dan and Jenna have relinquished their anxiety and fear and chosen to embrace the time they have with Shane — however long or short that may be.
On their Facebook page, Prayers for Shane, they record memories they are making with little Shane, using the hash tag #shanesbucketlist. They have visited family, gone to the zoo, and attended sporting events. In fact, Dan is a semi-professional baseball player, and little Shane is his biggest fan.
Packing a lifetime’s worth of bucket list items into nine months might sound intimidating to most, but that didn’t stop Jenna and Dan Haley. Their unborn son Shane has been diagnosed with complex neural defect that kills most infants soon after birth.
“Most families wait until their baby is born to start making memories and traveling to places with them,” Dan said. “We understood what it was and knew that our time with our son could be very limited, so we wanted to make the most of the time that we had with him.”
Anencephaly causes babies to be born without parts of the brain and skull. Many newborns with the condition die soon after birth. To the Haleys, that limited time is precious.
That’s where the idea for the “bucket list” came from. The Haleys came up with a list of places and activities they love and want to share with their son and vowed to do as many as possible during Jenna’s pregnancy. They have been updating family, friends and others on a Facebook page they created to log Shane’s adventures, and now more than 100,000 people are following along.
His parents have been so hard at work checking off items on the list that on Sept. 6, they finished it.
Shane, who is due October 12, has gotten a taste of his parents’ favorite activities, from sporting events to beaches to the Big Apple. Even though his “bucket list” adventures are over, dad Dan says they’re continually working toward their goal of making the most of what time they have.
“We truly value every minute that we have with our son,” he said, “and we thank God every night for blessing us with such a special little boy.”