Health & Medicine

Wyoming teen in recovery for rare illness visits Sacramento to thank local foundation

Wyoming Teen in Sacramento

Wyoming teenager Trinity Shores, who grew up in Sacramento, survived a serious illness earlier this year. Shores received help from the Loveall Foundation for Children, of Roseville, and is back in town to speak at their annual fundraising event.
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Wyoming teenager Trinity Shores, who grew up in Sacramento, survived a serious illness earlier this year. Shores received help from the Loveall Foundation for Children, of Roseville, and is back in town to speak at their annual fundraising event.

It started with just a fever, sending Trinity Shores to the nurse at her high school in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

“It didn’t feel like a normal cold,” Trinity said. Two days later, on Jan. 10, Trinity was rushed to the ER, becoming unconscious before she arrived, she said.

Trinity, 15, spent the next eight months hospitalized at the Children’s Hospital Colorado in Aurora. What started as influenza B turned to pneumonia, then sepsis. Then Trinity contracted MRSA – a severe staph infection – in her lungs.

Trinity said that she is one of just seven in the world to survive contracting those infections simultaneously.

Trinity grew up in Cameron Park and moved with her family to Cheyenne last year.

She’s returned to the capital region to speak at fundraising events for the Loveall Foundation for Children, a Roseville non-profit group that donated money to Children’s Hospital Colorado during her treatment.

The group invited Trinity to speak at their events to show the members and donors of the foundation – created in 1997 by members of the United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 8-Golden State – what their donations can help accomplish, according to Norma Tursky, who works for the foundation.

Medical costs are just one focus of the foundation. According to their website, they also donate to foster children, after-school and educational programs and abuse prevention.

The $1,000 donation to Trinity’s cause earlier this year came during the hospital’s Courage Classic, a charity bike ride benefiting its pediatric intensive care unit.

One of the riders who participated was Cheri Plantell, Trinity’s ECMO specialist, who biked upwards of 40 miles a day in the teen’s honor, according to Lisa Weaver, Trinity’s mother. She surpassed her goal, raising $3,380 on behalf of Trinity.

An ECMO, or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation circuit, is a treatment that cycles all of blood out of the body to keep it oxygenated.

Trinity underwent three open-heart surgeries to install, adjust and remove the ECMO life-support system, her mother said, as well as countless other procedures.

Trinity said Plantell loved her mantra, “try harder and stop whining.” Plantell attached a picture of Trinity, along with her mantra, to her bike during the Courage Classic, Weaver said.

Weaver said the first two months were the toughest, with Trinity in a medically induced coma.

“It was crisis mode for the first six weeks,” Weaver said. “They didn’t know which way it would go.”

Trinity was released from the hospital on August 24, just a few days before she started her sophomore year of high school.

Weaver said doctors expect Trinity to make a full recovery.

“The (ECMO) machine is amazing and the staff is amazing,” said Weaver. “They all went above and beyond to save Trinity’s life.”

Trinity said she’s doing better, but still tires easily. She uses oxygen, and only attends school half-time while recovering.

Thanks to her teacher at the hospital, she’s still slated to graduate on time, and said she might even finish up early.

Trinity said that her plans for the future are possibly to “become an ECMO specialist. ... I already have experience.”

As for life, Trinity said she just wants “to make the most of it.”

Sheryl Percell of the Loveall Foundation said that the organization loves to help individuals like Trinity because “they sometimes don’t know where to turn or where to go.”

“If they need it, we can be there in a hurry.”

The Loveall Foundation’s annual golf tournament, The Challenge, is Thursday at the Granite Bay Golf Club. It’s open to donors and invited guests.

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