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Father Honors Birthday Promise To Late Daughter

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Brian New
Brian joined the CBS 11 News team in 2013 after working a...
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MCKINNEY (CBSDFW.COM) - When six-year-old Ileana Shuman of McKinney was in the hospital, she asked her father if she was going to die.

“I said no, no way. I will not let you die,” said John Shuman.

He then paused for moment then said, “But sometimes we don’t have that power.”

In April, Ileana died less than a year after being diagnosed with brainstem cancer.

While receiving radiation treatment at St Jude’s Hospital, Shuman said his dying daughter asked him another question.

“She asked me, ‘I’m going to have a birthday party in October, right?” he recalled.

Shuman promised her that day she would. He remembers telling her, “You are always going to have a birthday party.”

Sunday would have been Ileana’s seventh birthday and as her father promised there was a party.

Shuman said his daughter would have loved it.

“She really loved to whack the piñata,” he said smiling at the other children playing the game.

The Shumans invited all of Ileana’s friends from her kindergarten class and all the friends who help them make it through the past six months to a birthday celebration at the St Michael Catholic Church in McKinney.

As a birthday gift, several of the men shaved their heads raising money for cancer research

“If they could go through this, shaving my head is nothing,” said Joe Mehring.

John Shuman also shaved his head to raise money for the St Baldrick’s Foundation and so did his 19-year-old daughter, Stacy.

She had the back of her head and neck shaved – the area where her sister lost her hair during radiation treatment.

“We always told her you are going to turn seven,” said Ileana’s oldest sister. “We told her you are going to have that birthday.”

And in a way on Sunday, she did.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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