COLUMBIA — At 6 months old, La'Trelle Daniels' family noticed that something wasn't right. He wasn't making cooing sounds or rolling over. He would just lie there and stare at the ceiling with his hands curled in tight fists.
"It was as though he were watching and talking to angels," his grandmother Terrie Daniels said.
When the family noticed he wasn’t developing normally, they took him to their pediatrician. La'Trelle was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, and the doctors said he wouldn’t live past the age of 2, his aunt Tyeisha Daniels said.
But La'Trelle laughed every day, no matter how much pain he was in.
"He was strong," Tyeisha Daniels said.
Terrie Daniels, who was his primary caregiver, said when she walked into the room, his whole face would light up.
"He was a very happy, happy little boy," she said.
Terrie Daniels took over caring for La'Trelle after his diagnosis. She read medical books and tried to learn more about her grandson’s condition, sang to him and danced with him on her knee. She gave him the nickname "Stank." La'Trelle couldn’t speak much, so she became his voice. Terrie Daniels said he gave her a reason to live during hard times.
“She saved his life, and he saved hers,” his great-aunt Carmen Chambers said. “It was a love story.”
Six years ago, Terrie Daniels moved to Columbia in the hope of finding him better medical care.
Terrie Daniels described their relationship as "inseparable."
"He needed me, and I needed him," she said.
La'Trelle went to Delmar Cobble State School. Terrie Daniels would put him on the special needs bus every time he went to school, Chambers said.
During their time in Columbia, the Make-a-Wish Foundation granted La'Trelle a wish.
Make-a-Wish gave his bedroom a sports-themed makeover. They even put his name over his bed, which Terrie Daniels said he noticed.
She said that he loved hearing stories and listening to music. He liked guitar and she put a keyboard in his room.
"He would rock his head from side to side," Terrie Daniels said. "He was Grandma’s special little blessing."
La'Trelle's family was there through his struggles with medical problems and disease, including a rare genetic disorder called Aicardi-Goutieres syndrome that affects the skin, brain and immune system.
On the night that he died, his family sang the song "Too Close to the Mirror" by Eddie Ruth Bradford to him.
Terrie Daniels said when he died, it was just like when he was a baby. Lying there looking at the ceiling, he was watching and talking to angels.
La'Trelle Da'Shawn Daniels, 15, of Columbia, died at his home on Monday, Oct. 28, 2013.
La'Trelle was born on Jan. 31, 1998, in Belle Chasse, La. La'Trelle, also known as Stank, was born to Lisa Ann Daniels and Kentrell Showers. He was raised by his maternal grandmother, Terrie Daniels, and his aunt, Tyeisha Daniels.
La'Trelle is survived by his parents, Lisa Ann Daniels and Kentrell Showers; two caregivers, Terrie Daniels (grandmother) and Tyeisha Daniels (aunt); four siblings, Harold Banks Jr., Ha'Rizon Banks, Shasiem Showers, and Rahiem Showers; his paternal grandparents, Joycelyn Showers Nunnery and Calvin Ross; three great-grandparents, Grace Cox, Halen Showers and Joseph Showers; an aunt, Tia Sowers; uncles Morris Daniels, Zyren Showers and Davion Showers; cousins Alexia Daniels, Gabriel Daniels, Nailik Daniels, A'Tajh Daniels, Roniah Daniels and Zaire Daniels; and a great-cousin, De'Marae Daniels.
Services will be at 4 p.m. Saturdayat Memorial Funeral Home, 1217 Business Loop 70 W, and Memorial Park Cemetery. Visitation will be from 2 to 4 p.m.
Condolences can be posted at memorialfuneralhomeandcemetery.com.
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