Livonia, N.Y. - Shannon Dougherty has one wish for her sweet 16th birthday.
She doesn’t want a shiny car or the latest fashion trend.
She wants to save a life because she says it's what her mom would have wanted.
“A lot of people say I look like her. That I laugh like her,” Shannon Dougherty said.
Shannon's mother died shortly after she was brought into the world.
“There was a day full of joy and then Tuesday Susan was having difficulty with pain,” Shannon’s father, Kevin Dougherty said. “It wasn't until Wednesday that we really knew something was wrong.”
Shannon’s mother, Susan Dougherty died from Necrotizing Fasciitis, also known as a flesh-eating bacteria.
The bacteria progressed from a Strep infection while in the hospital, weeks after giving birth.
The infection is so rare, it made local and national headlines.
“It's still surreal looking back on it, you don't think it's ever going to happen close to home,” Susan’s son, Ryan Dougherty said.
Ryan, now 24, was almost eight years old when his mom died.
“Me and her were very close, we had similar personalities,” Ryan said.
“Everyday I see Shannon, I can see more and more of her mom,” Kevin said.
Perhaps it's that piece of Susan Dougherty that lives on in her youngest daughter, Shannon, who instead of presents for her birthday, wants donations made to the National Necrotizing Fasciitis Foundation.
“My mom died for me, I feel like it's my way of giving back to her,” Shannon said.
Shannon hopes to raise more awareness and promote research.
That’s something that's given her family joy as they still struggle to cope with their loss.
“I'm really proud that she's giving up presents and all that to give to this foundation,” Ryan said.
“That makes me feel very proud of her and also the fact that her personality is similar to her mom's and her mom would be definitely proud of what's she's doing,” Kevin said.
“I hope she'd be proud,” Shannon said. “I try to make her proud.”
Many people have successfully been treated from this infection but still many people die because it's not caught in time.