When a baby is born prematurely, the baby’s future is checkered with some pretty serious, oftentimes scary, question marks.
How long will this child survive? What long-term difficulties will this child struggle with as she develops?
Shannon Buck, an 18-year-old from England, is bringing hope to premature babies and their families worldwide as she prepares to leave for college, with a bright future ahead.
Shannon was born 13 weeks early and weighed only 2 pounds, 2 ounces at birth. She suffered a collapsed lung, lost more than a pound, and was given a grim prognosis.
If she did survive, doctors predicted Shannon’s life would be short, and fraught with hardship and disability.
Every premature baby’s story is different, and some certainly do end up with developmental delays or disabilities that can be managed at the child’s own pace.
But Shannon’s mother, Lisa Buck, wants families to know that babies born prematurely are special — oftentimes having a deep understanding of determination and tenacity.
“Looking at Shannon now, it is difficult to believe she was once so tiny and poorly,” Buck told the Lancashire Post. “She is the tallest out of all my girls at 5 feet, 7 inches and she has size seven or eight feet!”
Shannon, who has always loved literature, is moving to Oxford in September to study publishing media at Oxford Brookes University.
“Shannon has always excelled at reading and writing and is obsessed with books,” Buck said. “She always knew she wanted to do something in this field and is excited about going to university to study publishing.”
“We are so proud of Shannon,” Buck said. “When she had such a shaky start in life, we certainly didn’t think she would do as well as she has done.”
Buck hopes her daughter’s story will serve as a source of hope to families who have been given a grim prognosis for their premature baby.
“I want to reassure any parents who have a baby born prematurely that things can get better despite the prognosis and in Shannon’s case, being born premature has not had any lasting effects on her life,” Buck said.
Buck credits some of Shannon’s greatest character traits to her premature birth.
“Shannon just takes everything in her stride and is very independent,” Buck explained. “I think that has a lot to do with being premature.”
“Premature babies have a lot of determination and grit and are very feisty,” she said.
Shannon knows that not all premature babies have such a successful outcome, and expressed heartfelt thanks for the medical team that surrounded her during those early months.
“I’m very excited to start the next chapter of my life later this month,” Shannon said.
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