Baby’s bucket list creates memories for a lifetime

shane michael haley

shane michael haley

It sounds like the wish list of any child – trips to the zoo, park, aquarium, beach, train, museum and amusement park. But this is no ordinary to-do list.

Baby Shane Michael Haley was diagnosed in the womb with anencephaly – meaning he had developed without parts of his brain and skull. His parents, Jenna and Dan Haley, knew he would survive a few days at best. So they created a bucket list of all the experiences they wanted to share with their son – and made sure they were all ticked off by the time he was born last Thursday.

shane haley bucket list

The Pennsylvania, US, couple set up the Prayers for Shane Facebook page and recorded their adventures, both to everyday places most of us take for granted, and on bigger trips such as to New York. They took him to meet the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team, carved pumpkins, ate cheesesteaks, went to the hockey and celebrated milestones from birthdays to having the hiccups or kicking in the womb.

Shane's parents

Shane was born at 2.25am on Thursday. He died in his mum’s arms just four hours later, after meeting his family and being christened – and touching the hearts of people around the world. “Shane spent his entire life in the arms of people that loved him unconditionally and I don’t think you could ask for a more beautiful life than that,” his parents wrote on Facebook. On Saturday, mum Jenna posted a heartbreaking tribute to her son on their page, which has more than 920,000 followers.


“You’ve done more then I could ever imagine. I sometimes get sad thinking about the things I’m going to miss doing without you but I’m happy to know that you’ve done something I could never do,” she writes. “You’ve united so many people for one cause and that is in support of you. One tiny boy who has helped raised awareness for anencephaly. You’re helping so many families break the silence.

Shane Michael Haley's dad Dan

“So while we’ve watched you grow inside my tummy for all these weeks, we know you’ve accomplished something that some people never can in a lifetime. You’ve taught us that life is fragile and that being a family means sticking together. You’ve given us hope and taught us to appreciate the little things in life. You’ve made a huge impact on this world and that is more than we could ever ask for. Shane Michael, Mom and Dad love you more than you could ever imagine … thank you for being our son.”

(Images via Facebook)

Michelle Rose

Michelle Rose

Michelle is a journalist and mum to two girls who are obsessed with dinosaurs, fairies, pirates and princesses in equal measure. She lives in Melbourne's east with her husband, daughters and a giant, untameable labradoodle. Michelle loves all things vegetarian, wine (it's a fruit) and online shopping.

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