SHEFFIELD -- Junior Shayna Spencer recently sat in the stands and cheered on her school's girls varsity basketball team, but since being diagnosed with Lupus in 2010 she hasn't had many similar care-free teenage moments.
Lupus is a long-term, auto-immune disorder that causes a body's immune system to attack healthy tissue.
Mount Everett Regional High School staff and students are holding a special spaghetti dinner fundraiser for the 16-year-old from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. today to help cover her medical bills for lupus and other painful medical ailments. The dinner will take place in the cafeteria at Mount Everett Regional High School.
According to Shayna's mother Carrie Chatham, her daughter is also dealing with fibromyalgia, which causes long-term body-wide pain, and Shayna has also has had two hip surgeries because steroid medication restricted blood flow to her hips.
"She's a young lady who has been through a lot," said the school's secretary Angel Rote, who worked with other teachers and students to organize the fundraiser. "She's had numerous setbacks but she keeps on going. She keeps her grades up, she's very committed to keep up with her classmates, and she's always back here as soon as she can. She's an inspirational lady."
Shayna had been active in basketball and soccer, but then her life changed because of lupus. She was diagnosed with lupus in December 2010 and fibromyalgia in 2011. The hip condition would follow in 2012, Chatham said.
When it comes to medical bills, Chatham said, "We're just going with it." Chatham said her daughter's health is a priority over any bills the family might accrue.
The oldest of four children, Shayna rarely complains about the pain and she's managed to stay on the school honor roll.
"She'll tell me about it, but she doesn't rarely complain about it," said Chatham. She said her daughter finds strength in God and also a future recovery.
However, the medical bills are adding up.
Spencer will be going to Boston Children's Hospital four times in February, according to her mother.
The spaghetti dinner will cost $10 for adults. For children up to 10, tickets are $5.
Additional information is available by calling Mount Everett Regional and asking for Angel Rote, (413) 229-8734, ext.102.