put swabbing kits at the front desk of his
office. An old high school friend offered
to donate money and arrange for a photo
of Shira and her kids to appear on bill-
boards around the country, accompanied
by the words “Save Our Mommy.”
“There’s just something about Shira.
She’s beautiful, her kids are beautiful,”
Churilla says. “It made people see them-
Over time, Smiles 4 Shira volunteers
had swabbed more than 10,000 people in
23 states and the District of Columbia,
but Shira still didn’t have a match. The
group had found matches for 110 other
people, a development Shira found com-
forting. All of their work had paid off.
Shira asked her cousin Wendi and her
friends to keep holding drives. “I think it
made her feel good to know that some-
thing good was coming out of her illness,”
During the next several months, eight
patients received stem cell transplants
because of matches made through Smiles
4 Shira drives. “We’d call Shira whenever
a match was made, or to let her know
another drive had been scheduled, but
we tried not to bother her with the small
stuff,” Sager says. Shira often was busy
undergoing treatment—hoping to keep
the cancer away while she waited for a
transplant—or using whatever energy
she had to take Rylie to dance class or
watch Brayden’s basketball or baseball
games. “She was always a mom first,
a sick person second,” Corbin says. As
weeks turned to months, it was tough for
loved ones to remain optimistic.
“It was an incredible feeling to know
that we were making matches for other
people, but we still hadn’t found one for
Shira,” Sager says.
In March 2013, more than two years
after Shira’s diagnosis, her doctors told
her she needed a transplant right away.
“All my daughter, Rylie, wanted in life was
to be my match,” Shira says. “But I didn’t
want her to live with that pressure. What
if it didn’t work?” Even if one of Shira’s
kids was a match, doctors don’t like to
use a child’s stem cells in a transplant for
an adult because a significant amount of
blood must be drawn from a donor dur-
The old way. everseat
Never wait on hold again.
Download , the mobile app that lets you find and book open
appointments with physicians, dentists, veterinarians, salons, spas & more!
DOWNLOAD THE APP TODAY! SERVICE PROVIDER?
Join now at
The Retreat at Sheppard Pratt, our premier residential unit, offers
patients seeking an intensive and highly personalized assessment
and treatment program, a chance to make meaningful progress
We offer an intermediate length of stay from three weeks to several
months in a private-pay, therapeutic milieu and provide expert care
for depression, anxiety, personality, and addictive disorders.
6501 N. Charles Street ● Baltimore, MD 21204
410.938.3891 ● retreat.sheppardpratt.org
Expert Psychiatric Care in a Residential Setting