Shane began smoking at age 18 and was only 34 when the damage to his body from smoking became evident. He noticed he was having difficulty swallowing; throat cancer turned out to be the cause. During the surgeries that followed, doctors removed his larynx, part of his esophagus, and collarbone and then reshaped and stretched his stomach to serve as an esophagus. After surgery, he spoke with the aid of an electrolarynx and had a 1-inch stoma (opening) in his neck so he could breathe.
While Shane remained smoke-free since 2003, the years of smoking continued to affect his health and quality of life. At 44, he faced a new challenge when his doctors found cancer in his chest. He bravely battled smoking related cancer for over ten years until it took his life in August of 2016.