Thanksgiving With A Grateful Heart


In the US this month, we will be gathering around the table with family and friends for Thanksgiving. This is a time for sharing an abundance of delicious foods, conversation, and sometimes football. It is also a time of reflection and gratitude. Many families celebrate the tradition by encouraging each person to share what they are grateful for. Often, that includes gratitude towards people who have touched our lives in a special way, encouraged us through tough times and helped us through some of life’s devastating hurdles.

There is a very special person that I would like to feature this month, a person who certainly has had her share of devastating hurdles to tackle, yet she always finds time and a way to help others. Shannon Kenitz is one you may recall from previous stories about her daughter Grace, who was born with a rare mitochondrial disorder and was not expected to live past the age of two.

“All I can say is that Shannon is my hero. I owe her a debt that never can be repaid”

Grace Kenitz, is a special needs “warrior child” with strength and determination. She continues to reach one milestone after another, as she just attended her prom, very typical for most kids in high school but not for most special needs children. Grace continues to beat the odds with her achievements and Shannon attributes the milestones to Grace’s hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) treatments. She feels that if it were not for the HBOT treatments, Grace would not have survived. Shannon consistently gives credit to HBOT for Grace’s story of hope and the quality of life she can have. From increasing Grace’s mental focus, to her walking out of her wheel chair, speaking, attending public school and celebrating her sweet 16 birthday party, Shannon believes HBOT played a huge role (

Not only has Shannon been a warrior mother for Grace, she never overlooks her typical daughter, Lily, and her needs. She carves out time to make Lily feel special, as often a home with a special needs child takes a great portion of the attention. Even after all the devastation that Shannon has experienced with Grace’s condition, she is always available to lend a hand to other families coping with special needs children. I would like to share notes of gratitude other warrior parents have shared about Shannon Kenitz:

“I met Shannon Kenitz shortly after Evan was diagnosed with autism, I heard she was one of the go-to moms that not only had the best resources but the kindest heart! She has been a guardian angel to me since day one. Shannon introduced me to oxygen chambers (HBOT), which is an incredible treatment in the world of autism and it even helped me with my PMS! I would describe Shannon as a mother warrior, truly one of the most incredible mother warriors I have ever met, she is my inspiration and she keeps me going!”
— Jenny McCarthy

“Before there was my son Gavin’s story, there was Grace’s. Without the journey that Shannon, Grace, and Lily are on, nothing would’ve been possible with Gavin. At 17 months, we took Gavin for the first time to “A Place of Grace” clinic for HBOT, but knew very little. All we knew was our son sliding backwards and he wasn’t in good health. Shannon gave me individual advice for my son who had an autism diagnosis and now is recovered, but still fighting a mitochondrial disease. Without what I learned from Shannon, I would’ve never continued to try to find out what is going on with Gavin’s health. We would’ve never known that he actually has mitochondrial disease. I tell her story to other people as a source of inspiration to them when they’re struggling with their children. All I can say is that Shannon is my hero. I owe her a debt that never can be repaid.”
— Tami Truhill, proud mom to Gavin and Cooper

“I was so inspired by Shannon’s quest to help her daughter that I did HBOT with my daughter, Gianna, only because I saw Shannon’s story when Gianna was almost two. She is 10 today. After we saw her on the Montel Williams show, her story inspired us to do HBOT and our lives changed forever. I remember telling someone that if I could meet anyone I’d want to meet Shannon, just to tell her how much she made a difference. It’s hard to be public and share your personal family story with the rest of the world. About a year later, she opened her center, “A Place of Grace” in Irvine, CA, right down the street from our house. I got to meet her in person and now I consider myself lucky to be able to call her a friend. Only one doctor (of so many) would give me the Rx. Sometimes you are just meant to meet people in your life and I think I’m lucky. I can say that Gianna is better because Shannon shared her story. Seeing this video brings back memories. When I first saw Grace’s story, Gianna couldn’t even play with toys. Now Gianna can crawl and is working on her balance. Shannon is truly an amazing woman and deserves to be recognized. Thank You Shannon Kenitz!”
— Natalie Dragotto

my “Shannon came into my life almost 10 years ago. Before I had even met her she helped provide HBOT to my daughter, Melissa, just days past her first birthday. In her first year of life, she had almost no development. Not a night went by in those last few months of her first year that I did not go to sleep wondering if she would still be with us in the morning. We saw many doctors during the last six months of her first year.I heard about HBOT on a group I was on for parents who had children with seizures. I started searching everything I could. I found out there was going to be a conference in Chicago, IL with a booth on HBOT. Shannon was working the booth there and as soon as my dad told her about Melissa, Shannon picked up the phone and called me, right there in the booth. For the first time in almost a year, I held a hope for my little girl. A couple days after my daughters first birthday, Shannon called me again and asked me to bring Melissa for HBOT treatment at “A Place of Grace.” She helped cover the cost so our family of seven could make it work financially. I had no idea where I would be staying for the month I would be in Madison, WI when I left just a few days later. Shannon took care of that too, making sure I had a place to stay and even covering the costs of the hotel… While Melissa is by no means normal we have seen so many benefits of hyperbaric to her in the ability to control her head, roll over, great eye contact and interaction, verbal sounds for communication, regular bowl movements, reduced allergies, sleeping through the night, more content, screaming episodes almost nonexistent, reduction in seizure activity, the ability to eat solid foods, the ability to suck out of a straw, growth, smiles, and laughing. I am sure I am missing things, but I think you can see I will always believe HBOT saved my daughter’s life. Shannon was the only reason my daughter was able to get HBOT treatment; she made sure all barriers were removed to make it possible for Melissa. I will eternally be grateful to Shannon for giving daughter back to me. Thank you Shannon!”
— Alaina Kerkhove

“Shannon is a wonderful person who thinks of others before herself. She will give the shirt off her back to you if she thinks you need it more than her. We met Shannon 12 years ago in Florida; when she was working in Florida doing HBOT with Dr. Neubauer. I called to find out more information about HBOT and she answered the phone. The next thing I know, I am in Florida doing HBOT. She found me a place to rent, and made sure I had a ride on rainy days to the clinic. Other days we preferred to walk. When she opened a place here in Wisconsin, we did HBOT there as well. She also helped us get a portable HBOT chamber for Jonah when coming to the clinic was no longer an option. Shannon is an awesome friend, she is an excellent mother. In my book she deserves the golden award for being a humanitarian. “
— Deborah Bures

“Shannon you inspired our family years ago when we first sought HBOT for our children with a mitochondrial disorder. Watching you talk on “The Montel Williams Show” about successfully treating Grace’s mitochondrial disorder with HBOT, gave us the inspiration and drive to get treatment for our kids too. You gave us hope. As a result, our children’s health has improved beyond our dreams. You not only advocate for Grace, but for others as well. We are very grateful to one of the greatest “mito” moms we know.”
— Scott and Gerri Williams, parents of two extraordinary kids (Austin and Sydney)

Michelle Boudreau is a national bestselling author who was once considered for a Pulitzer Prize nomination. She is a UCLA alumni, and media journalist, authoring numerous publications. Boudreau has 16 years’ experience as a consumer product specialist, focusing on health product awareness.


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