This unbelievable story will touch your heart: Jenna Gassew and Dan Haley, a young couple living in Pennsylvania, is making sure their unborn son gets to experience a bucket list of fun adventures before his birth on October 12. The reason? Their baby was diagnosed with an incurable birth defect, one that lowers his chances of survival.
After slipping on some black ice two months into her pregnancy, Gassew went to the doctor's office, where she found out her baby had anencephaly, a rare birth defect where a baby is born without parts of the front brain and skull; CDC statistics list 1 in 4,859 babies as being born with anencephaly each year. The young mom and dad learned about the diagnosis two days before their fourth wedding anniversary.
Even with the probability that their baby would die shortly after birth, Gassew and Haley decided against an abortion and relied on the strength of their Catholic faith. They set out to create a list of things and places they wanted Shane to experience.
According to the New York Daily News, the couple created a "Prayers for Shane" Facebook page where they post updates on Shane's growth and milestones (like kicks and hiccups) and chronicle #shanesbucketlist. So far, the list includes eating cheesesteaks, watching Haley play baseball, seeing Zack Brown Band in concert, and feeding animals at the zoo.
Along the way, friends, family, and readers who have been touched by the couple's journey have showed tremendous support (the page currently has over 97,000 likes) and posted encouraging messages. Responding to the outpouring of love, Gassew and Hale wrote, "We are truly blessed and forever grateful! Shane will be here in a little over a month and we can't wait to meet him, but it's quite clear that he has already had an enormously positive impact on the lives of so many people, and that is a miracle all in itself."
Image: Photo of Jenna Gassew and Dan Haley courtesy of their "Prayers for Shane" Facebook page.