YOUNG Shannon Cassidy poses as she blows out the candles of her birthday cake and celebrates becoming a teenager.
But just a month after her 13th birthday, the Horden youngster died after suffering a severe asthma attack.
Her devastated family don’t know what triggered such a strong attack, which happened while she watched TV at her aunt’s home.
The Easington Academy pupil was due to be laid to rest on Wednesday, December 11, with a funeral at 11am at Peterlee Methodist Church, followed by burial at Peterlee’s Eden Lane Cemetery.
Shannon’s heartbroken parents full-time mum Sarah, 34, and former soldier Gavin, 36, paid tribute to their “little angel”.
After Shannon had previously suffered seasonal asthma attacks, having being diagnosed aged three, she had regularly been treated in hospital for the illness.
But Sarah, of Horden’s Hall Crescent, who is also mum to Kieran, 11, and Brandan, nine, also an asthma sufferer, said: “We are just devastated, we didn’t ever think this would happen.”
Emergency services were called to the home of Shannon’s aunt, Kelly Douglas, in nearby Forth Close around 8pm on December 2, after Shannon struggled for breath.
Despite using her inhaler, her condition deteriorated and the former Easington Colliery Primary School pupil even told Kelly’s partner Graham Ainsley: “Help me, I’m dying.”
She was rushed to Sunderland Royal Hospital, with Sarah and Kelly following with a police escort.
Sarah, who is also mum to Kieran, 11, and nine-year-old Brandan, also an asthma sufferer, said: “I’ve seen her have asthma attacks before, but never anything like that.”
But despite paramedics’ efforts, Shannon lost her fight for life shortly on arrival at hospital.
Sarah paid tribute to her daughter, who was in the school choir, saying: “She was a bubbly child, really happy. “We are trying to keep it together as a family, but I don’t think Christmas will ever be the same again.”
Gavin, who lives in Peterlee, added: “She was always the strong one, she had a mothering nature.
“She was my first-born. My dearest darling daughter will always be in our hearts and souls.”
Shannon’s grandfather Peter “Dougie” Douglas said: “Shannon was a lovable child and she got on well with everybody.”
She also leaves behind grandparents Doreen Douglas, John and Daree Hyde and Elspeth Cassidy.