Teen goes on Make-A-Wish shopping spree

Rashaun Hann had control of the experience, something she has not had in her battle with Hodgkin's lymphoma

Rashaun Hann had control of the experience, something she has not had in her battle with Hodgkin's lymphoma

September 07, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- Rashaun Hann entered PetSmart on Monday with a shopping list already cemented in her mind.

Her first stop was the aisle full of dog clothing, so she could get her beagle mix, Mikey, a coat to help stop his wintertime shivering. Next she grabbed a pirate Halloween costume on her way to the harnesses in various sizes and colors.

Rashaun, 16, of Fort Loudon, Pa., needed no assistance making decisions on her Make-A-Wish shopping spree. A volunteer said "it's your day" and gave Rashaun control of the experience.

It was perhaps a stark contrast to the girl's lifestyle for the past several months.

Asked about the hardest part of Hodgkin's lymphoma and the treatment, Rashaun looked at the ground briefly and said "feeling so helpless."


"Your life can change in an instant," said her mother, Bonnie S. Hann.

Make-A-Wish provided Rashaun with a shopping spree that included several stores. After leaving PetSmart on Norland Avenue, she and her family went to Chambersburg Mall and Mikie's Ice Cream in Greencastle, Pa. They went from place to place in a white limousine from Unique Limousine of Harrisburg, Pa.

Rashaun said her family's two dogs and 23 cats have provided comfort during radiation and chemotherapy treatments.

"She has a really good relationship with animals," Hann said.

PetSmart Store Director Josh Roush said he was surprised initially that a teenager would be granted a shopping spree and choose to spend much of the money on her pets, rather than herself.

"It's awesome," Roush said. "We feel proud to be included in this event."

Hann said her daughter suffered fatigue and shortness of breath, but it wasn't until she showed her mother a golf ball-sized lump on her chest that they realized something was terribly wrong.

"As soon as she showed me the mass, I knew," Hann said.

Parents need to be vigilant about monitoring their children's health because childhood cancers are more common than many people realize, Hann said. Other symptoms include joint aches, rash, fevers of unknown origin and night sweats, she said.

Rashaun has nine days of radiation remaining. The family travels to Hershey (Pa.) Medical Center, where a favorite doctor, Mustafa Barbour, lifts Rashaun's spirits.

"Her systems are still out of whack," Hann said, saying Rashaun hasn't been able to start 11th grade at James Buchanan High School in Mercersburg, Pa.

A Hershey social worker contacted Make-A-Wish regarding Rashaun. Hann was so impressed with the foundation's work that she wants to train as a volunteer herself.

Rashaun said she hoped to get books, a Nintendo Wii and a class ring during the shopping spree stops after PetSmart. She also wanted to find a way to perhaps exchange a gift card for spaying for the six female cats.

Hann asked that any veterinarians who offer low-cost spaying contact her at 717-369-5712.

To nominate someone for Make-A-Wish, go to

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