With every step she takes, seventh grader Shannon Nealon is helping her big sister and others suffering with Rett Syndrome.
Shannon, a Malverne resident who attends Our Lady of Peace School in Lynbrook, recently started "Miles for Smiles" to help find a cure for this nervous system disorder, which one of her sisters was diagnosed with. Through this initiative she has ran numerous races including the Malverne Run for Education 5K and Lynbrook's 4-Mile Fly with the Owls race, and raised more than $4,000 for the cause.
On her fundraising page, Shannon explains that Rett Syndrome has taken away her older sister Brianna's ability to walk, and talk and she needs constant assistance in all aspects of her life.
"The scientists are so close to a cure and every little bit helps," Shannon writes. "Please donate to help raise money for this cause, so one day Brianna can run with me."
In additon to her fundraising efforts, Shannon, a first honors student at OLP, also volunteers in a variety of ways in Lynbrook, Malverne and East Rockaway. Her contributions to these communities and the fight to find a cure for Rett Syndrome, recently attracted the attention of Jesse Landoue, Miss New York International 2013, who presented Shannon with a "Volunteer of the Month" award and a $25 Visa gift card. Landous also featured Shannon on her Facebook page.
Shannon will run her next race, the Disney Princess 5K, this Saturday, Feb. 23. If you would like to donate to her "Miles for Smiles" project, click here to learn more.