WEST LAFAYETTE -- After years of experiencing more personal life trials than the average person, a West Lafayette resident has surpassed her losses and trials, achieved several goals, and now is doing her part to help fight the dreaded disease of cancer.

Shelly Reigle's problems surfaced in 1986 following the news that Reigle would never be able to conceive children.

Reigle and her husband, Mark, were ready to accept their so-called fate and felt that they may have to adopt in order to have a family. Fate did not seem to be etched in stone, though, and Reigle was informed that she was pregnant following a later routine examination. She said she was both shocked and amazed at the news. A short time later, little Skyler Rose was born. But happiness soon turned to worry for the Reigles when Skyler developed what appeared to be kidney problems. Reigle said Skyler, who was only 10-weeks old, had been taken to Columbus immediately for testing. She said after multiple, very thorough testing was completed, Skyler was sent back home as no problems could be identified at that point. Skyler died two days later as a result of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).

Two years after the loss of Skyler, the Reigles were once again given shocking, yet amazing news that Shelly was pregnant. She said this time they decided to follow the advice of a high risk pregnancy specialist in Akron -- just to make sure Reigle was monitored closely.

The pregnancy seemed to progress normally at first, then Reigle suddenly began experiencing problems. Happiness once again was marred by the news that Reigle had developed a rare, pregnancy-induced cancer known as gestational trophoblast. Reigle said treatment started immediately but in spite of all action, she miscarried the second child. Reigle said the cancer was then resolved and she did not require any type of aggressive measures such as chemotherapy.

Six years after Reigle's miscarriage and cancer diagnosis, she was again given news that she was pregnant.

Reigle said she was excited but very apprehensive to the news. The pregnancy proceeded and without any complications until the baby's birth. Reigle and her husband were informed that the child, a son, had an extremely serious cardiac defect. Reigle said it took several hours to feed the baby due to the severity of his condition. A surgical procedure was performed when the baby was seven weeks old. The baby, Braxton, is now 14-years-old.

Reigle said they have been blessed and that Braxton's cardiac status is stable.

Reigle's stress still didn't seem to know when to calm, as her husband of 24 years was later injured and has been disabled since that time.

Riegle later decided she needed to develop skills in order to attain a good paying job and decided to go back to school. Reigle said she always had an interest in health and science as a child, and decided to pursue a career in nursing. She started out with the LPN program at COTC (from Newark that is now offered at the Coshocton campus) and graduated with the highest marks in pharmacology in the class and was also in the top 10 for the national scores in pharmacology.

Reigle didn't stop there. She later decided to go through COTC's rigorous RN program. Perseverance paid off, and Reigle graduated as an RN in August. She later accepted a staff nurse position at both New Dawn and Riverside Manor Nursing facilities.

Reigle was recently the winner of a new award that was being presented by AK Steel of Middletown for individuals who have overcame hardships and improved their lives.

She said her mom, Georgia Summit, had read an article in the local paper regarding the award and secretly nominated Reigle.

She said she was very surprised and honored to receive such an award. The winner also was given a choice to have a $1,000 donation given to a charity of his/her choice.

Reigle said that her personal experience with cancer has been one of the main reasons for her participation in the local Relay For Life for the past several years and she felt it was the most appropriate charity in which to have the money donated to.

"I have overcome several major losses and stressors in my life, and I think the reason behind that is I have always kept in my mind that someone out there always has it worse than I do," Reigle said.

The award also supported the fact that life's struggles and challenges can many times be overcome, she said. A positive outcome can be achieved through having and keeping the right attitude.