Shea Danielle Patrick
Lee High School
Shea Danielle Patrick is a senior at Lee High School in Huntsville, Ala. She has a GPA of 3.78 and is ranked in the top 10% of her class. Lee High School teacher Roberta Hirschbuehler wrote, “She puts her mind to something, and she excels…Her talent is only rivaled by her sharp wit.”
Shea has a particular interest and talent in the field of visual art. She is enrolled in the Magnet Arts Program for Huntsville City Schools and was selected to the Visual Arts Specialty by audition and portfolio review. Shea has studied art privately at Lowe Mill Art Center and the Huntsville Museum of Art. She participated in the Panoply Art Festival, was a Lowe Mill vendor at Art Market 2021, and receved the Mended Hearts Program Art Award in 2021.
Active in her community, Shea has served as a volunteer for New Leash on Life, Burritt Museum, the Huntsville Botanical Garden Gang, and the Green Team. She is an animal lover and has had many family pets – including a snake – in her lifetime.
Shea and her identical twin sister Abby were both diagnosed with Familial Dilated Cardiomyopathy three months after their births. Dilated Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle in which the ventricle stretches and thins and can’t pump blood as well as a healthy heart. The girls were immediately transferred to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital in Nashville to await heart transplants. It was here that her nominator, Mrs. Shirley McLeod, met the family and became a long-time friend.
Abby’s condition was deemed most critical, and she was fortunate to receive a heart transplant in November 2004. The surgery itself was successful. Several days later, however, Abby suffered a devastating and life-changing brain injury.
Shea received her heart transplant in February, 2005, at the age of 7 months. It was completely successful, and she was able to leave the hospital one week later. Her mother, Lisa Patrick, wrote, “Her life has been a gift, but it certainly has been far from one of a typical child. She has had countless heart catheterizations, lab tests, doctor visits, EKGs, ECDs, as well as other hospitalizations and tests. As a transplant recipient, these will continue throughout her life.” The required immune suppressant medication causes such adverse effects as migraine headaches, increased risk of skin cancer, and long-term kidney damage – and is an ongoing issue.
Despite all, Shea has maintained a high GPA and displayed exceptional talent in art and creative writing. “Shea is an amazing young lady with a bright future ahead,” Mrs. McLeod wrote. “She is highly intelligent, a critical thinker and a responsible young woman.” Shea plans to pursue a career as a professional artist, animator and writer. She currently deals in a variety of artistic hobbies including but not limited to writing, clay sculpture, crafting, drawing, photography, comics, video editing, and costuming. In addition to this, Shea is also an avid bookworm and wildlife enthusiast; her current creative inspirations draw from the natural world, history, and world cultures/mythologies.
For her strength of character and commitment to excellence in the face of extraordinary health obstacles, Shea is recognized by her school and our state as one of the five 2022 Young Heroes of Alabama.