When Shanice was born, she was not allowed to leave the hospital for her first six months of life and was in the ICU unit for four of those months. For her whole first year, the tiny baby had to use oxygen to keep her going. At two years old, Shanice lost the use of her hands and in 2003 she lost feeling in her left side. At this point, she was diagnosed with spondyloepimetaphyseal dysplasia, Strudwick type, which is an inherited disorder of bone growth that results in dwarfism, characteristic skeletal abnormalities, and problems with vision. Shanice endures frequent bouts of pneumonia and has also had spinal surgery. Every day, she has to eat a special formula for extra nutrition and takes numerous medications. Shanice is wheelchair bound and has very little use of her hands.
“It was a wonderful, wonderful trip,” said Shanice’s mother, Starleigh. At Disney World, Shanice just loved everything, especially the “Toy Story Mania!” ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, where she racked up an awesome 400 points in a carnival midway styled atmosphere.
However great her time at the park was, Shanice was truly awed by her birthday party at The Wolfgang Puck Grand Café in Downtown Disney. According to her mother, “when she gets excited, she starts shaking.” Shanice was definitely shaking when she arrived at the Café. The Restaurant Manager, Matthew, was overjoyed to have Shanice in for her birthday and organized an unforgettable celebration: “We had her and her brothers and sister make their own pizzas for dinner. We got her an embroidered Wolfgang Puck apron, a talking Minnie Mouse doll, Minnie Mouse ears, and a Wolfgang Puck cookbook signed by the entire staff. Our pastry chef even made her a special birthday cake.” He even contacted Paula Deen (Shanice’s favorite cook) and her company, who sent Shanice some more birthday gifts! “She’ll never forget that birthday!” said Starleigh of of her daughter. It was truly a birthday that “cooked up” plenty of wonderful memories.