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Anna “Chickadee” Cardwell, the eldest daughter of reality TV star Mama June Shannon, has died at the age of 29 after a battle with stage 4 adrenal cancer. She passed away peacefully at her mother’s home on Sunday, December 10, 2023, according to Shannon’s Instagram post.
Cardwell was diagnosed with adrenal carcinoma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer that affects the adrenal glands, in January 2023, after experiencing severe back pain and stomach aches. She underwent four rounds of chemotherapy, but the cancer had spread to her liver, kidney and lung, and was deemed terminal by her doctors.
She spent her last months surrounded by her loved ones, including her mother, her three younger sisters, Lauryn “Pumpkin” Efird, Jessica “Chubbs” Shannon and Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson, her two daughters, Kaitlyn and Kylee, and her boyfriend, Eldridge Toney.
Cardwell was born on August 28, 1994, as the first child of Shannon and her ex-husband, David Ford. She appeared on the TLC reality shows “Toddlers & Tiaras” and “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” along with her mother and sisters, showcasing their quirky and unconventional family life in rural Georgia.
She married Michael Cardwell in 2014 and had her first daughter, Kaitlyn, who was born with an extra thumb, in 2012. She gave birth to her second daughter, Kylee, in 2015, before divorcing Cardwell in 2017. She had a strained relationship with her mother for years, accusing her of stealing money from her and neglecting her children. She also claimed that her mother’s boyfriend, Geno Doak, had sexually abused her when she was a child.
However, she reconciled with her mother in the past few months, after Shannon reached out to her and apologized for her mistakes. Shannon, who had struggled with drug addiction and weight issues, said that she was proud of her daughter for being strong and brave, and that she wanted to make amends before it was too late.
Shannon announced her daughter’s death on her Instagram account, where she shared a series of photos and videos of Cardwell, along with a heartfelt caption that read: “My sweet baby girl, I can’t believe you are gone. You fought so hard and never gave up. You were the strongest person I ever knew. You were my first love, my first everything. You made me a mom and gave me two beautiful granddaughters. You were always there for me and your sisters. You had the biggest heart and the brightest smile. You were my angel on earth and now you are my angel in heaven. I love you more than words can say and I miss you more than you can imagine. Rest in peace, my Chickadee.”
How Cardwell’s Life Changed After Reality TV Fame
Cardwell’s life changed dramatically after she and her family became famous for their appearances on the TLC reality shows “Toddlers & Tiaras” and “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo”. The shows followed the exploits of Shannon and her four daughters, who were known for their eccentric personalities, unconventional habits, and love for pageants.
Cardwell, who was nicknamed “Chickadee” by her mother, was often portrayed as the mature and responsible one among her sisters, who had to deal with their mother’s chaotic lifestyle and questionable choices. She also had to face the challenges of being a teenage mother, as she gave birth to her first daughter, Kaitlyn, when she was only 17 years old.
Cardwell married Michael Cardwell, a truck driver, in 2014, in a ceremony that was featured on the show. She wore a camouflage dress and carried a bouquet of roses and shotgun shells. She had her second daughter, Kylee, in 2015, and moved to Alabama with her husband and children.
However, Cardwell’s marriage did not last long, as she filed for divorce in 2017, citing irreconcilable differences. She also accused her husband of cheating on her and being abusive. She moved back to Georgia with her daughters and started dating Eldridge Toney, a mechanic, in 2020.
Cardwell also had a falling out with her mother, who she claimed had stolen money from her and her children, and had exposed them to danger by dating Geno Doak, a convicted felon. Cardwell also alleged that Doak had sexually abused her when she was 8 years old, and that her mother had failed to protect her and had even blamed her for the incident.
Cardwell and her mother stopped talking for several years, and Cardwell did not appear on Shannon’s spin-off show, “Mama June: From Not to Hot”, which documented Shannon’s weight loss journey and drug addiction issues.
Cardwell said that she felt betrayed and hurt by her mother, and that she wanted nothing to do with her or her boyfriend. She also said that she was worried about her sisters, who she felt were being neglected and manipulated by their mother.
Cardwell’s relationship with her sisters was also strained, as they sided with their mother and defended her actions. Cardwell said that she felt like an outsider in her own family, and that she missed her sisters, especially Thompson, who she considered her best friend.
Cardwell’s life took another tragic turn when she was diagnosed with adrenal carcinoma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer that affects the adrenal glands, in January 2023, after experiencing severe back pain and stomach aches. She underwent four rounds of chemotherapy, but the cancer had spread to her liver, kidney and lung, and was deemed terminal by her doctors.
She decided to stop the treatment and spend her remaining time with her loved ones, who rallied around her and supported her. She also reconciled with her mother, who apologized for her mistakes and asked for forgiveness. Cardwell said that she forgave her mother and that she wanted to make peace with her before she died.
How You Can Honor Cardwell’s Memory and Support Her Cause
Cardwell’s funeral will be held on Saturday, December 16, 2023, at the First Baptist Church in McIntyre, Georgia, where she grew up. The service will be open to the public, and the family has requested that attendees wear pink, Cardwell’s favorite color, as a sign of solidarity and love.
The family has also requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Adrenal Cancer Foundation, a nonprofit organization that funds research and provides support for patients and families affected by the disease. The foundation’s website states that adrenal cancer is one of the rarest and most aggressive cancers, with only about 200 cases diagnosed each year in the United States. The survival rate is less than 35%, and there is no effective treatment or cure. The foundation aims to raise awareness, improve diagnosis, and develop new therapies for this devastating disease.
You can make a donation in Cardwell’s name by visiting the foundation’s website, www.adrenalcancerfoundation.org, and clicking on the “Donate” button. You can also send a check or money order to the following address:
Adrenal Cancer Foundation P.O. Box 231 Ann Arbor, MI 48106
Please write “In memory of Anna Cardwell” on the memo line.
Cardwell’s fans and followers have also created a memorial page on Facebook, where they can share their memories, photos, and tributes to the late reality star. The page, which has over 100,000 likes, is filled with messages of condolence, admiration, and gratitude from people who were touched by Cardwell’s life and story. You can join the page by searching for “Anna Cardwell Memorial” on Facebook, and leave a comment or a post to express your feelings and thoughts.
Cardwell is survived by her mother, her sisters, her daughters, her boyfriend, and many other relatives and friends. She will be remembered as a loving, caring, and courageous woman who touched many lives with her kindness and smile. She was a fighter until the end and an inspiration to all. May she rest in peace.