Shelane Gaydos — Mother, Daughter

Shelane and her Mother, Joanne.

Written by Joanne Bryant, Shelane’s Mother.


Shelane is my first born. She had beautiful big brown eyes, curly hair and a face full of freckles. She was born on October 28, 1979 at Ft. Campbell, KY in a World War II hospital where her Dad was stationed in the Army. She came home on Halloween and it would become her favorite holiday. She was a very happy child, always smiling and laughing. She was independent from an early age, always helping me care for her younger brother, Shawn and sister, Sarah. 


She had two near fatal illnesses when she was young. At the age of two she came down with a rare kidney disease that threatened she would be on dialysis for the remainder of her life — luckily she overcame it. Later at the age of 6, it was discovered she had a tumor behind her ear that took her entire eardrum. After mulitple surgeries and a reconstructed eardrum she managed to pull through and compensated with her good ear. 


She made friends easily as we traveled while in the military, spending five years in Hawaii and three in Germany. She was a natural leader in Girl Scouts and was elected President of her Catholic young women’s group called ‘Squire Roses’. While athletics wasn’t a strong suit for her, she tried soccer, basketball, track and made her HS field hockey team. 


It was after HS that she developed a love for running, completing a half marathon, triathlon and marathon in AZ. She ran for all causes and enjoyed the idea of running for others. Shelane went on to graduate from George Mason in 2003 with a degree in Criminal Justice and worked for two years for Fairfax County probation department before applying to the Police Academy. 


She was sworn in as a Fairfax County Police Officer in 2005. Shelane met the love of her life and husband-to-be as a result of her younger sister being in a small fender bender. She showed up at the scene to see if she could help her sister and met the police officer in charge. The rest is history as they married in 2006. She was well respected throughout Fairfax County earning numerous awards and recognition and quickly rising to the position of Detective. 


Of all her accomplishments, she was most proud to be a Mom. She gave birth to Nadia in 2007, Sofia in 2010, and Olivia in 2012. She was a master at juggling everything and volunteered at their schools, girl scouts and even becoming an assistant lacrosse coach, recruited by her younger sister Sarah. 


Shelane had a very type A personality, always striving for perfection in everything she did. In 2015 she became pregnant with baby #4 and was delighted to be rounding out her family. Unfortunately, at her 12 week checkup the doctors discovered there was no heartbeat. She struggled to find answers as to why but no one could explain. No one could console her and she fell into a deep depression under the veil she was so good to disguise. It was two weeks from the day she lost the baby that she lost her struggle and made the decision to take her life. 


Shelane’s Run helps fund PSVa’s Shelane Fund which ensures mothers suffering from PMADs can access mental health care.  Through Shelane’s Fund, we offer financial assistance for counseling, medication, or other postpartum needs. 


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