‘If Deja can do it, so can they’: Hoover woman finds comfort in philanthropy after losing daughter to debilitating illness

keeping Deja King's memory alive

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - A mother of two finds strength in her faith and philanthropy, while coping with the loss of her oldest child.

(Source: Brittany Dionne)

Shaunta Woods sat in her dining room Sunday, surrounded by family and friends. Between bursts of laughter and chatter, moments of silence. Woods’ daughter, Deja Dennise King, died on July 12, 2019 just days before her 22nd birthday .

“She had a smile that would brighten up anyone’s bad day; that alone gives me comfort,” said Woods.

According to Woods, Deja faced many challenges.

“Deja was born normal. At the age of 6 months she contracted pneumococcal meningitis that left her with multiple disabilities. The doctors gave her a life expectancy of one year to live,” Woods explained.

That diagnosis led to other health issues, rendering Deja non-verbal and in need of around the clock care.

Although her life was short , Deja’s tenacity inspired many.

In 2015, Woods started the Deja King Foundation. Since the foundations conception, they have gifted more than 100 college bound students supplies including microwaves, comforters and laptops.

“We want to bless them with all the things they would need for their dorm in her honor,” Woods explained. “Not only is it a need in the community, but it’s also gives the generation the push they need to go forward.”

A reminder that she too, can push forward.

“Deja was given a bad deal from day one. If she can overcome all the adversities that she went through with a smile on her face, it gives me joy to know that she has not only changed my life, but she changed the worlds life... with her story, with her smile and everything about her. So, that gives me comfort,” Woods said.

Deja’s younger sister, Jada, is heading off to the University of Alabama in the fall. She too will carry her sister’s legacy with her.

The Deja King Foundation is hosting their 5th annual “Trunk Party” Sunday, July 21, 2019 at 3:30 p.m. at The Boutwell Auditorium.

Twenty students who submitted essays along with transcripts and college acceptance letters will receive gifts.

The entire event is made possible by donations from the public and local businesses.

Donations are still being accepted. To donate contact Shaunta Woods at (205) 201-9475 or email: dejakingfoundation@gmail.com

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