Award: HONORING WOMEN IN NEW YORK
Dream “The Dreamster” Shepherd is 10 years old and was born with sickle cell disease. The hereditary blood disorder resulted in complications for her, including chronic pain and a stroke at five years old. Despite facing this terrible disease, Miss Shepherd has shown tremendous heart and bravery that deserves to be recognized.
Miss Shepherd is being honored not only for her bravery and spirit, but for her passion to help others. Even while battling her own health issues, she is busy raising awareness and funds for sickle cell disease. In March 2014, Miss Shepherd was named Grand Marshal of the 10th Annual Go the Distance Walk and Family Fun Day for Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, where she led thousands of supporters for the event’s signature “Stroll Around Campus.” From dance-a-thons, to marketing campaigns and radio “roof-a-thons,” she has worked tirelessly to show others how young people can be active and excel, even while battling chronic medical conditions.
In December, Miss Shepherd was hospitalized and placed in isolation for almost four months. She endured vigorous and invasive procedures in preparation for a transplant, including chemotherapy and radiation. Today, she stands a victor over sickle cell disease, and continues to cheer up children with chronic medical conditions. Miss Shepherd is an active student, Girl Scout, artist, novice fashion designer and “Hula Hoop Extraordinaire.”
Though it would seem all the odds were against her at a young age, and when most of us would have given up or given into depression, Miss Shepherd made it her priority to help others facing similar hardships, and remained active in the community. As Miss Shepherd is only 10 years old, we all have something to learn from her – to never give up, no matter the odds against us, to face the belly of the beast with bravery and stubbornness and to turn our own fates into something we can be proud of.