On most days Shannon Klann finds herself slipping in and out of sleep, struggling to find the energy to make it through a full day. The constant pain caused by her rare condition — Friedreich’s Ataxia — can wear her down.
She faces every day from her wheelchair, though, with enthusiasm sparked from her family and newfound friend, Kathy Carrigan, who has set out on a mission to provide assistance to the Charlotte family.
“She is unbelievable,” Shannon said of her new friend. “She is a lady of her word. When she says she is going to do something, she does it.”
When Kathy first saw Shannon at Real Life Church, she had no inkling that she was about to meet her new best friend. She knew very little about her or her family’s story, but she was drawn to her by a need to provide help.
“I really wondered who in the church was doing something to help,” Carrigan said.
After spending time with Shannon and her family, she realized how extraordinary her story was.
Carrigan was diagnosed Friedreich’s Ataxia — a rare disease that affects a cell’s ability to function properly — in the late 90s. By then she was already wheelchair bound. She had the love and support of her husband, Chris and the determination to start a family. The couple eventually had three children and Shannon was able to care for them though she could not walk and was losing a lot of mobility in her upper body.
The family lived in the Detroit area where Chris provided for the family doing masonry. The recession of the late 2000s, though, made getting work difficult for Chris and he eventually found a job with the State of Michigan. That too, presented a different set of challenges, as he had to commute close to four hours per day, leaving the children to provide Shannon’s primary care.
They made the decision in 2011 to move closer to Chris’s job, settling in Charlotte.
It was just over a year ago that the chance encounter between Shannon and Kathy sparked hope for something better for Shannon and her family.
Having received some electromagnetic therapy, Kathy knew there was a machine in the Nashville area that may be able to provide some relief for her symptoms. Kathy figured a machine that’s sole purpose is to reinvigorate the cells in a person’s body could only help Shannon’s condition. She arranged for Shannon to receive treatment and immediately, she felt positive results.
“The pain would decrease every time I would get the therapy,” Shannon said. “I was feeling good and energized.”
Unfortunately, getting Shannon to and from those sessions takes a toll on the family. Chris works full time and their three children — Jared, 17, Ryan, 14 and Sabreena, 12 — are in school every day. Shannon can’t drive and the family does not have any mechanism to get Shannon and her wheelchair in and out of their vehicle.
Kathy has set upon a mission to provide the family with a electromagnetic therapy machine, similar to the one used in Kathy and Shannon’s treatments in Nashville.
“We believe there is hope for Shannon to improve with the help of the pro model electromagnetic therapy machine from Pulse Power Technologies,” Kathy said.
The machine, though, costs close to $35,000. Kathy established a Go Fund Me account to help raise the funds necessary to purchase the machine for the family. Kathy also believes having a machine of this level could help others in the community as well.
“This is really a medical needs fund,” Kathy said. “I really hope this can happen for them.”
To learn more about Shannon’s condition, visit www.gofundme.com and search Shannon Klann medical need fund. You can learn more about the electromagnetic therapy machine at www.pemf.us. A medical needs account has also been set up at PNC Bank for those who would like to donate.