A South Carolina teen who was made an honorary American Airlines flight attendant last year was treated to a special surprise on Monday, when she arrived for her flight to Cincinnati for a high-risk, potentially life-saving surgery to improve her breathing. Shantell “Princess” Pooser, who is terminally ill, arrived to a gate-side celebration and VIP treatment, even featuring a dance session and photo shoot with Cinderella.
The aircraft was even emblazoned with a new “Princess Shannie’s PSA Jet” sticker on the door.
Pooser, who has Down syndrome and various airway diseases, was en route to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital for a surgery to improve her breathing. Doctors are planning to fit her with a prosthetic tracheotomy, to address her issues breathing. Pooser’s airway is currently obstructed 87 percent, and if she’s having a flare-up, she’s completely obstructed, her mother said.
According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, the surgery has just a 10 percent success rate, but without it, Pooser has just between six and nine months to live. A Facebook post from Miller-Berry on Wednesday morning indicated that the procedure had been a success.
“It’s important to celebrate her now,” Deanna Miller-Berry, Pooser’s mother, said. “She needs to see the support and support that she has. And the love and support that she’s gotten from American Airlines is beyond what I could ever ask for.”
Pooser first connected with the crew over her 50 flights back-and-forth to Cincinnati for medical care. A spokesman for American Airlines said Pooser is a “close friend, and honorary colleague to the American team.”
“Her smile will just light up the room, she has so much joy,” Casablanca Francis, a PSA flight attendant said.
In addition to her gate-side parties and celebrations, the flight attendants and crew collected scarfs that she can use after her surgery to help cover her trach.
“No matter what the outcome, I’ll be able to say as a parent that I did everything I could to save my baby, that’s all that matters and I had ya’ll to help me do it,” Miller-Berry said, of the American Airlines crew.