‘She’s my world’
Shauna Bonds just wants people to know that her sister, Shaniqwa Cooper, is special. Most people accept and love on her sister, but some stare and act scared of her, Shauna said.
When Shauna put this picture of the two of them on Facebook, many people felt the need to criticize the way her sister looks.
“They took a special moment from me and ruined it,” Shauna said.
Shaniqwa was born with a medical condition called microcephaly, where the baby’s head is smaller than expected. Most babies born with microcephaly have a smaller brain and intellectual disability.
“She has the brain of a 2-year-old,” Shauna explained.
Shaniqwa’s disabilities include trouble communicating and being unable to feed herself.
Instead of talking about the things her sister can’t do, though, Shauna likes to brag on all of the things she can do.
“She can walk, dress herself, put on her shoes and take pictures. And she loves to get her nails painted.”
In fact, the first thing Shaniqwa wants to do when Shauna gets home from work is have her nails painted.
Shauna describes her sister as “outgoing and funny. She’s always happy to see me.”
Both girls grew up in Ripley and have the same mother, Amelia. They live with their mom and stepdad. They also have a brother.
Shaniqwa is 28; Shauna is 26. Both girls graduated from Ripley High School. Shauna said she enjoyed visiting her sister’s special education classroom whenever she could.
At times, Shauna worries about her sister, but she knows she’ll be taking care of her if something happens to her parents and grandmother.
“She’s my world,” Shauna said. “Our bond is very strong. If anything happened to her, I don’t know what I would do. She’s like my child.”
If you see Shaniqwa, give her a big smile and let her know how much this community cares for her. She is such a happy person, and we don’t want to see a frown on her sweet face again.