Humans of Lee: Up close and Personal with Shakia Spence


Holding Zurri, Shakia Spense (12) enjoys spending precious time with Zurri. Spense had her baby at the age of fifteen and loves every day with Zurri. “My life has changed so much because I now have something to live for.”

Humans of Lee: Up Close and Personal With Shakia Spence Podcast

Shakia Spence (12) became pregnant at fifteen. Her daughter is now a very loved member of the family at one year old.

Spence and the father knew of the pregnancy very early on, though she kept the news from people in fear of being seen differently. Her own mother did not find out until four months along, noticing only because Spence started dressing differently. She was nervous to let everyone know of the baby because she was beginning to struggle greatly with her self esteem.

Her fears were not wrong though, as when her friends found out, Spence noticed that many began to distance themselves and were no longer involved in her life. Her father, however, was considerably supportive. He understood that sometimes things happen, and did not judge her as both he and Spence’s mom were young when they got pregnant.

Her mother did not feel the same way. She was worried and angry, and even drove Spence from state to state in search of a clinic that would perform an abortion. To Spence’s luck, there was none that would so far along. Even though her mother first felt this way, as time went on she has become incredibly devoted and loving to Zurri Scott.

Spence and Zurri now have a support system spanning families, as the father and his family is very involved in Zurri‘s life. The father was instantly excited and wanted to tell everyone of the baby, and is still incredibly proud. Spence even said that his mother was “like a second mom” to her.

But then Zurri was diagnosed with sickle cell and the families had to come together to work to ensure Zurri’s health.

Sickle cell causes the blood cells to become shaped like crescents and they run the risk of becoming stuck in the veins and can cause severe injury or death. It gets worse as the person ages, and half of the victims die before the age of fifty. Sickle cell causes organ damage, strokes and pain that can be caused by illness, stress, or if the person becomes dehydrated.

Sickle cell requires medicating, cautious use of over the counter drugs, and the patient has to avoid even temperature ranges that are too extreme.

The type of sickle cell that Zurri is diagnosed with will not much affect her until she is around two years old; her mother must still take extreme care to keep surfaces clean and keep her healthy.

Even though Spence has to be careful, she still finds time to spend time outside with Zurri; Spence takes her out with the family, to football games, and to Chuck-E-Cheese on a semi-regular basis.

Spence has kept up well with her schooling throughout motherhood. When she first gave birth she missed only two weeks. She then went to school every other day and did whatever needed to excel for both her and her baby. She plans on continuing her education and hopes to become someone her daughter will always look up to.