American Airlines inducted its first special needs flight attendant with a terminal illness on Saturday morning in a moving birthday celebration that helped 17-year-old Shantell "Princess" Pooser see her ultimate dream come true.
The Midlands teen has Down Syndrome and also battles a series of airway defects: laryngomalacia, tracheomalacia, and tracheobronchial malacia, her mother, Deanna Miller Berry, told WIS10.
Her condition began to worsen a few years ago, forcing mom and daughter to regularly fly to the Cincinnati Children's Hospital.
The two have already made over 57 flights and it was during these trips that Pooser realized her dream
"She saw the flight attendant and she was like, 'Mommy, I want to be a flight attendant,'" Berry said.
Doctors recently said there is not much more they can do for Pooser, who has already outlived their expectations, so an American Airlines pilot set out to ensure the teen's dream could become a reality.
On Saturday Pooser reported for her first day on the job on a plane filled with her friends and family.
Video footage posted to Berry's Facebook page shows Pooser proudly dressed in her uniform, surrounded by her family members as they wait to board the plane.
To add to the momentous occasion, Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin also joined the party and a talented pilot provided entertainment by playing the piano, WIS10 noted.
The day of fun was a welcome treat for the family, who face the fact that Pooser's airways are now more than 87 percent obstructed, and served as a "dream come true" for the teen, Berry said.
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