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Stories of Courage


For David Shevlin, Jr. (DJ) his 13th birthday will be one he never forgets. From Royston, Ga., DJ, his sister, Savannah, and parents David and Stephanie decided to have a day on the lake for his 13th Birthday. The morning of DJ’s birthday, the family took a friend’s pontoon boat out on Lake Hartwell to celebrate DJ. After a few hours on the lake, the weather took a turn for the worse so the family headed in for the docks. DJ, his mother and sister were sitting on the front of the pontoon as it slowly moved towards the dock. Suddenly, a huge wave came up from the lake knocking DJ off the boat. Immediately, he was sucked under the boat and popped up about two minutes later. It was not until DJ started paddling towards the boat that they realized something very horrible had happened. DJ’s arm had been broken in two places and once they pulled him onto the boat they saw something even worse. While under the boat, the propeller had cut off DJ’s side completely leaving a huge gash, almost resembling a shark bite. DJ was immediately rushed to Greenville Memorial Hospital and doctors began what was soon to become a seven hour surgery to repair his arm and side. After surgery, caregivers were amazed by how lucky DJ was to have not lost all his blood or have any of his internal organs touched by the propeller. During his stay in the hospital, DJ’s parents stayed at the Ronald McDonald House across the street. They remarked, “it was so nice to have somewhere to go and take a shower and eat while we were in this stressful, unexpected situation.” For 24 hours each day either Stephanie or David was by DJ’s side and the other was at the House resting. After 10 days in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and later the Children’s Hospital wing, DJ and his family were able to return home.  DJ is doing well today and will soon go to get his stitches out. His family is eternally grateful for the amazing help and support they received at the Ronald McDonald House and Greenville Memorial Hospital.

JoshuaJoshua and his twin were both 10 weeks early. The twin did not make it but Joshua did. At 2 weeks old he had a colostomy bag because of intestinal issues. Six weeks later they operated to reattach his colon. He was on a feeding tube until he was 2 years old and had his gallbladder removed when he was four. Joshua’s tenuous state required him to be resuscitated on occasion.

In response to learning disabilities, Joshua had early intervention until he was three years old and has been involved with Special Education. He plans to go to regular Headstart and regular kindergarten while also receiving physical therapy and writing therapy.


Also known as Lacey, 9- year-old Lissandra has spina bifida. She has been visiting the Greenville Ronald McDonald House since she was three years old. Although the family was here just a month ago, Lacey’s mom noticed that her arches were rising which is an indicator that the spinal cord is tethered and surgery is required.

Spina Bifida is a problem with how the spine and spinal cord develops and can begin to develop in a fetus before the mother even knows she is pregnant.

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