Young woman whose brother died in house fire, now loses mom to heart attack

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Shaniah Johnson is only 18 - but she has lived years of loss.

"It is hard when you lose a family member - and now you have to lose another one," said Shaniah

Her father died from pancreatic cancer when she was only 5. Then tragedy struck the family again, back in November, 2017 when an electrical fire burned through their Detroit house - her 14-year-old brother who suffered from cerebral palsy and unable to talk or walk, was trapped inside.

"I woke up, I came out, there was a whole bunch of smoke rushed to his room, it was engulfed in flames," she said. "I ran out and told my mom 'Derek's room is on fire.' We tried to save him the best we could, I know she was screaming frantically. It was just too much for me to handle."

Derek Johnson died in the fire and her mother Sharon never recovered physically and emotionally.

Last week, Sharon Johnson 's heart gave out.

"She was under stress from my brother passing, I know that for sure," Shaniah said. "She had fluid over her heart, that is what caused her heart attack in her sleep. She coded three times and couldn't wake up from that."

RELATED: Disabled boy dies in house fire

Shaniah, who just graduated high school, is struggling to come up with the money to bury her mother, make payments on their house and prepare for her paralegal studies as a freshman at Henry Ford College. 

But now Shaniah has to do all of this - all alone.

"Just support, really," she said. "I don't think you can really get through it. It's just not normal. I am going to just try the best I can, to go to school, plan my life right now."

She is working part-time right now, but has set up a GoFundMe page called "Momma's send off to heaven” hoping someone out there may find it in their heart to help - so Shaniah can continue to make her parents proud.

"I promised my high school diploma to my dad and I graduated with a 3.6 (grade-point-average)," she said. "Now I am going to get that 4.0 for her, that’s for sure."

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