Shannon’s Obituary

John Sales | Comments from Friends | Wednesday, December 16th, 2009


Shannon Rose Sperando-Sales, age 28, a resident of Naperville, IL, formerly of West Chicago, IL, passed away on Saturday, December 12, 2009 at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago after a more than two-year long battle with brain cancer. She was born June 19, 1981 in Winfield, IL.

Shannon passed away peacefully with her family by her side. She never once lost her faith, her sense of humor, or the will to fight. With the support of her loving husband and family, Shannon never refused to stop loving life even in the face of great adversity. Her inner strength never ceased to amaze her family, friends, and health care providers. Her focus was not ever on herself, but rather on how her illness affected her family and others. Her unwavering perseverance, unrelenting spirit, and contagious smile, right up until the end, lit a room, and she literally brought joy to all whose lives she touched. And there were so very many. Selfless and humble, altruistic, and forever compassionate, her beauty transcended the physical realm. Her life and memory will continue to serve as a beacon, a source of inspiration and awe for all who knew her.

Beloved wife of, soul-mate, and best friend to John D. Sales, Jr., devoted daughter of Dennis Sperando of West Chicago and Nancy (nee Hefler) Sperando of Bloomingdale, IL, beloved sister of Randy Pederson and Tarah Sperando, dear granddaughter of Eileen and Richard Kelso and the late Augustine Sperando, Mary Jane and the late Thomas Hefler, cherished daughter-in-law of Sandy and Brian Gay and John Sales, Sr., adored niece, cousin, sister-in-law and friend to many, and loving owner of her cat Salem.

Shannon grew up in West Chicago, was a graduate of West Chicago High School, Class of 1999. She received an Associate’s Degree from the College of DuPage, Glen Ellyn, IL and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from the University of Iowa, Iowa City in 2005. Shannon was employed by Core Fitness, Iowa City, and most recently by Phonak, LLC, Warrenville, IL. Her hobbies and interests included working out, being outdoors, volunteering, and serving others. Her talents, exuberance for life and vivaciousness were noted by all.

Visitation: Friday, December 18, 3:00-9:00 P.M. at Friedrich-Jones Funeral Home, 44 S. Mill St, Naperville.

Services will begin Saturday, December 19, 10:30 A.M. from the funeral home and will proceed to an 11:00 A.M. Mass of Christian Burial at SS. Peter & Paul Catholic Church, 36 N. Ellsworth St., Naperville.

Interment: Assumption Cemetery, Wheaton, IL.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to: American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA), 2720 River Road, Des Plaines, IL 60018, 847-827-9910,

Visitation, Mass, Interment

John Sales | Comments from Friends | Sunday, December 13th, 2009


Visitation: Friday, December 18, 3:00-9:00 P.M. at Friedrich-Jones Funeral Home, 44 S. Mill St., Naperville, IL.

Services will begin Saturday, December 19, 10:30 A.M. from the funeral home and will proceed to an 11:00 A.M. Mass of Christian Burial at SS. Peter & Paul Catholic Church, 36 N. Ellsworth St., Naperville, IL.

Interment: Assumption Cemetery, Wheaton, IL.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to: American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA), 2720 River Road, Des Plaines, IL 60018, 847-827-9910, .

Absent From the Body; Present With the LORD

John Sales | Comments from Friends | Saturday, December 12th, 2009

Shannon Annes Beach

My beautiful wife waited until I awoke at 2pm today to pass away.

Shannon had been in a coma since Wednesday morning, and her vital signs were worsening: respiratory rate quickened; oxygen level dropped; heart rate increased; blood pressure dropped. Once her vitals reached alarming levels, we had her moved to the Palliative Care Unit of the hospital on Thursday night. Palliative care concentrates on relieving symptoms instead of curing the disease.

Shannon’s breathing slowed and became more and more shallow after being transferred. We all knew it was a matter of hours or days before she passed away.

I had been awake until 5 in the morning last night, mentally preparing funeral and burial plans. When I awoke at 2pm today, her breathing was so faint. I wasn’t even sure if she was still alive… but she was. Fearing the end was near, I put my head next to hers and reassured her of our eternal love. I promised I’d be strong for her… and our potential children (we have a few frozen embryos). And then I told her she belonged with God. “Follow Jesus. Follow His light.” And then my radiant sunshine quietly left… so peacefully…

Thank you, God.

There’s Good News and Bad News

John Sales | Comments from Friends | Sunday, December 6th, 2009

The bad news: The tumor appears to be growing. This may be the reason Shannon has been sleeping more and more lately. Dr. Grimm, her neuro-oncologist, has explained that if Shannon passes away from brain cancer, she’ll sleep more frequently and eventually won’t awake. She shouldn’t experience any pain during this process. (What a peaceful way to go. May we all pass so peacefully.) Rest assured knowing she hasn’t complained of any pain and looks very comfortable while asleep. We’ll have a more definitive answer when Dr. Grimm has a chance to interpret her latest brain CT scan today or tomorrow.

The good news: Shannon is beating an infection that is normally fatal. Mucormycosis is a rare fungi infection that generally occurs in people with compromised immune systems. Chemotherapy has weakened her immune system, as well as the cancer itself. According to the National Institutes of Health, “[m]ucormycosis has an extremely high mortality rate”… unless, of course, you’re Shannon Sperando. :D

Something To Be Thankful For!

John Sales | Comments from Friends | Thursday, November 26th, 2009

Would you believe that Shannon has been awake since noon and blabbing away non-stop, including breaking into Dave Matthews’ songs?! Also, her right side is no longer paralyzed! The doctors aren’t sure what’s going on.

Now THERE’S something to be thankful for!!!


My Beautiful Buttons

John Sales | Comments from Friends | Thursday, November 26th, 2009

Loved Ones,

That beautiful ray of sunshine we call Shannon is fighting for her life and will likely no longer be with us in a week. Have comfort knowing she is experiencing little to no pain and is surrounded by friends and family. For those that have faith in Christ, know that she too has faith in Him.

We were unable to awake her all day today (Wednesday). Her breathing is labored, and her right side appears to be paralyzed. The doctors suspect the fungal infection has spread to the brain and sinuses as well as the lungs.

Her oncologist told us he has never seen someone fight so hard and handle so much. And he assured us he wasn’t just saying that. Over these past two years, we have aggressively attacked her cancer and pushed her body to its breaking point. And as amazingly strong as she is, that little dynamo can only handle so much.

These past few months have become increasingly difficult, and I look forward to sharing that experience with you. In time, this site will become my public diary dedicated Buttons. I’ll fill in all of the missing details. I look forward to sharing with all of you the most sacred, beautiful, blessed, loving, and difficult experience of mine and Shannon’s life.

Button’s Husband (John)

Thanksgiving Week

lukenathaniel | Comments from Friends | Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

This is Luke, a friend of John and Shannon, posting an update in John’s stead while he cares for and spends time with his wife around the clock. Clarifications may be posted; please keep in mind that this is all second-hand information I’m passing along.

Shannon’s symptoms worsened this fall, owing perhaps to the timing of the medical treatments in combination with the effects of her tumor. She’s had some difficulty with walking, motor skills, short term memory and speech and a lot of weariness. However, some of that has improved over the last few weeks, and it looks like some of the symptoms’ severity was due to a serious infection. A wound in her right leg became infected, something that happens often when chemotherapy weakens the immune system. Her doctors at NWU hospital seem to have this infection under control, though, and her cognitive functioning and motor skills improved dramatically once she was being treated for the infection with antibiotics.

Despite her recent apparent improvement from the effects of her infection, Shannon’s doctors strongly feel the risks of chemotherapy at this point outweigh the benefits, and it looks like they have halted her chemo treatments. Furthermore, they suspect a spot in Shannon’s lung may in fact be the fungal infection that she’s been fighting lately. If that is in fact the case (and it apparently seems likely) then it should be understood pretty clearly what Shannon and her loved ones may now be faced with. In the days ahead, Shannon’s care may be palliative and focused on her comfort and relief of symptoms rather than continued aggressive cancer treatment.

John remains at Shannon’s side 24 hours a day, and both his family and Shannon’s family are with them all helping to care for her and support one another. Anyone who feels compelled to reach out to them right now should please go ahead and do so. They need us now more than ever.


Shannon Sperando | Comments from Friends | Saturday, August 8th, 2009

As of right now, it looks like treatment is preventing the tumor from growing.  The tumor hasn’t changed on the MRI so that’s good.  We will keep doing this until it stops working or until we’re ready to try something new.  It’s very nerve-racking!


Round Two…

Shannon Sperando | Comments from Friends | Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

Even after sending the pathology for second opinions, the results were still indeterminate. The tumor is either another PNET (Primitive Neuroectodermal Tumor) or a GBM (Glioblastoma Multiforme). It has PNET characteristics, but it came back in a different area of the brain.  This is strange since PNETs normally come back in the original tumor site.

Unfortunately, one thing is for sure: it’s cancer.

Because the tumor is deeper in the brain (corpus callosum), Dr. Black said that surgery is not an option at this time. So we began researching other treatments options. We considered four or five options, and finally settled on one. We decided to try a drug combination that works well on GBMs and PNETs.  Temodar is a chemo, and Avastin is a non-chemo drug that reduces the amount of blood flow to tumors.

I’ve been doing this treatment since May 28th and will finally know if it’s working by the end of this week.  My MRI is later today.  If the tumor has grown, we’ll have to try another option.

So stay tuned for my results. I will do another post soon.  I promise!

~ Dictated: Shannon       ~ Typed: John       ~ Go team!


Shannon Sperando | Comments from Friends | Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

 We finally did it! It was a perfect day… an absolute blessing. Of course, that perfect day was on May 23rd.  Whoops! Sorry for taking so long to update the site. Here are the wedding photos:

So happy to be husband and wife :D

~ Shannon and John

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