Thursday, March 14, 2013
An Andover girl who has a rare disease just wanted a dog. And she received that gift today as a surprise. 17 year old Tia Shepherd was born with a rare mitochondrial DNA disease that doesn't even have a name. There is possibly nobody else in the world who has it... other than her own sister.
"You don't have to have much money to make a kids dream come true," said Karla Guillen, whose daughter Ashley told her about Tia a few days ago. "You just have to have the heart and the will and that's to try."
"She has just really wanted a dog that wasn't really hyper and she's been in love with Yorkies all of her life," explained Tia's dad James Shepherd.
Before she became so sick, Tia made a bucket list. #2 on the list is to get a Yorkie puppy. But today, she can cross that item off that list thanks to Karla and Ashley Guillen and the Kansas Humane Society.
"To us, it might just be a dog," Ashley said, "but to her, it's another companion. Someone to be there by her bed when someone can't be."
As Black Beard was placed on Tia's bed, dry eyes were hard to come by. Tia was even able to mouth the word 'puppy.'
"It means a lot. It means hope," Tia's dad said. "Having her smile and getting her something that she's been really wanting is just priceless."
And if that's not hard enough, Tia's older sister Meriah also has a similar disease. At 19, Meriah already has lost her hearing and the use of her arms. Meriah sends text messages to her friends by using her nose.
"I just want people to know to never give up," Meriah Shepherd said. "Just keep going."
Tia also has on her bucket list that she wants to meet Taylor Swift. After coordinating with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Tia was scheduled to meet with Swift at a concert in Nebraska yesterday, but because she became bedridden, Tia was forced to stay home. Tia is still hoping Swift will meet with her when she comes to Wichita in August.
Tia also has a Facebook page that she is trying to get 2,000 'likes' on. Click here to go to that page.