Teen Passes Away Shortly After She Thought She Had A Sinus Infection

Most of us will treat flu and sinus infections as simple conditions and leave the immune system to battle on our behalf. Of course it’s never comfortable, but with a few pills we always assume we can get back to normal. Shayla Mitchell did too. She had been struggling with a stubborn cough for a few days and suspected it was a sinus infection so she asked her dad to drop her off the clinic for treatment.

Her dad Tom picked Shayla up from school and took to the doctor. Their plans included grabbing a quick bite afterwards. Unfortunately, fate would lead them another way, as they ended up having dinner in a pediatric oncology office at the Fairfax Hospital in Virginia.


In his TED Talk, a distraught dad explained how that was the beginning of having many meals in the hospital day after day. Contrary to what Shayla thought, a simple sinus infection was actually a malignant tumor that had been spreading to most parts of her chest. Had she not checked into the hospital on time, she would have been rushed in an ambulance with a collapsed chest. Tom was shocked beyond measure.

Shayla was diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkin disease. Her dad Tom absorbed that information and went to an American Indian art store and bought some souvenirs: Two feather bracelets for him and his daughter. He knew it would be difficult explaining to Shayla that she was suffering from a deadly disease and wanted to show her that they were connected and could get through it together.

She needed to know that her greatest fan would be there by her side battling the disease. Shayla promised that she would be brave. The next few years would see Shayla go through a series of chemotherapy, radiation treatments, tests, and needles. She even had to undergo surgery for a pacemaker. Although Tom would have loved to be on that hospital bed instead of her daughter, there was nothing he could do apart from being strong for her. Sadly, even though she was brave until the end, Shayla eventually lost the battle to her childhood cancer.

According to her father, Shayla was a hero he had never come across before. To date, Tom takes time to appreciate his daughter for fighting through to the end. This touching story deserves a broader audience. You could spread the word and let Shayla be known as the hero who went too soon.