Shane Michael Haley was born at 2:25 a.m. on October 9th, 2014. He died just hours later cradled in his mother’s arms, surrounded by family. Baby Shane lived less than five hours after birth, yet his little life has touched millions.
Before Shane was born his parents Jenna and Dan Haley received a shocking diagnosis. They were told the unborn baby they were carrying had a brain defect called anencephaly. This defect causes a baby to be born without parts of its brain and skull. Most children born with this defect die shortly after birth.
Hearing a negative diagnosis from a doctor is an expecting parent’s worst fear. Dan and Jenna could have chosen to handle the news in a number of ways, including choosing abortion for their young son. Instead, Dan and Jenna decided to love their little boy to the very end.
The couple created a bucket list on their baby’s behalf. They didn’t know if he’d ever be able to visit the zoo or lay on a sandy beach. In an creative act of love, they planned to enjoy those things now, while he was growing in the womb.
Dan Haley told ABC News last month:
“He’s still our little boy and even though he’s been given such a short life expectancy because of anencephaly, we wanted to make sure that we gave him a lifetime worth of adventures and love while he’s with us.”
The Haleys created a Facebook page titled, ‘Prayers for Shane’. On that page, they shared their adventures with their unborn child. You can scroll through the page and see Shane in his mom’s belly enjoying a NHL playoff game, hanging out at Linvilla orchards and getting a cheesesteak in Philly. The Facebook page became extremely popular with close to 800,000 likes.
In one post, Jenna shares:
‘One of the greatest things in the world was that Shane got to watch his dad and god father, Ryan, play baseball for the Delco League. Not only that, but their team made it all the way to the championship. He is one lucky guy to get to spend may-august watching these guys play. He couldn’t of asked for a better or longer season ( I think he was their good luck charm )’.
The Haleys’ love for baby Shane is truly what has captured the heart of America. His story is spreading through social media and news outlets because it’s a picture of selfless love. While the world applauds Brittany Maynard for choosing to take her life because of severe illness, these parents did the opposite. They could have ‘spared’ Shane pain by aborting him, justifying it as mercy killing, and received sympathy and praise in the process. Instead, they made a brave decision to love their unborn son until he breathed his first and last breath.
Dan Haley told ABC News:
‘One thing we would want people to take away is that each human life is so valuable and that it’s important to live each day to its fullest potential.’
That’s a lesson we all could learn from the small but immeasurably valuable life of baby Shane who is now, I believe, enjoying adventures with Jesus, incomparable to those on earth.