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Donald 'Donnie' Fredrick Shrake
December 23, 1967 -- July 27, 1990


In October, 1967, I was 6 months pregnant with my son and big as a house... looked like I was going to have twins any day. I kept going into the emergency room with terrible pains on my right side. They kept doing tests and sending me home with orders to stay in bed -- that I was trying to miscarry. Finally, after 2 weeks of this, the pain doubled me over about 2am one night and I couldn't move. My husband got me to the car, called a neighbor to watch the girls and rushed me to the hospital again. This time they admitted me for observation but still thinking I was trying to miscarry. They began sedating me because of the pain. After a few hours and lots of lab work they sent me to x-ray where they took somewhere around 15 x-rays. Everything... x-rays, lab work... everything... showed everything so slightly abnormal that it didn't indicate anything wrong, yet I was in excrutiating pain. Finally at 2pm they decided to do exploratory surgery. I asked about my baby and they told me to be prepared that it might not make it... found out later they didn't think either of us would make it. At 2:30 they took me into surgery and removed my appendics. Said if they had waited another hour it would have burst and both of us would have undoubtedly died. Anyway... for the next week they kept me knocked out with morphine. As soon as it would wear off, Donnie would begin moving/kicking under the incision [my scar is about 6 inches long] and I would begin climbing walls with the pain and here they would come again and knock me out again. My hips became so sore from the needles that it got to the point that I would beg for the hyperdermic then cry when they did it because I had had so many of them and it hurt so bad. After a week they sent me home and I had my baby 1 1/2 mos later, almost a month premature. He had severe birth defects because of all of the x-rays, surgery, morphine, anasthesia, etc.


I found this in the paper years ago. I clipped it and kept it taped to my refrigerator where I read it daily.

Heavens Special Child

A meeting was held quite far from earth
"It's time again for another birth"
Said the Angels to the Lord above.
"This special child will need much love
His progress may seem slow
Accomplishments he may not show
And he'll require extra care
From the folks he meets down there"

"He may not run or laugh or play
His thoughts may seem quite far away
In many ways he won't adapt
And he'll be known as handicapped.
So let's be careful where he's sent
We want his life to be content
Please Lord find the parents who
Will do this special job for you."

"They will not realize it right away
The special role they're asked to play
But with this child sent from above
Comes stronger faith and richer love.
Soon they'll know the privilege given
In caring for this gift from Heaven
Their precious gift so meek and mild

Is Heavens Very Special Child"

Nov 2, 1968 Donnie, taken Nov 2, 1968. He fell over right after I snapped the photo.

1969 My favorite picture of Donnie taken Jan, 1969. This was right after learning what his problems were and what we would be facing for the rest of his life. We were told that he would not live to see age 6. Then it was age 16.

Apr 1978 About 1978 or 79. Donnie's right arm is broken up next to his shoulder where he banged it on his bed. His arm was immobilized by bandaging it next to him. This photo was taken in General Hospital in Nashville, Tn.

1988 About 1988, just a couple of years before he died.

Headstone, Donald F Shrake
Oakley Home Cemetery
Hopkins County, Kentucky