Shannon Kane Dunleavy, of Darien, passed away on Wednesday morning, March 27 after a battle with brain cancer. She was 28.

Shannon was born June 26, 1984 in Stamford, Conn. She is the daughter of Martin and Marilyn Dunleavy. Raised in Darien, Shannon attended Darien High School before graduating from the University of Connecticut with a degree in psychology.

Among her many interests, Shannon was a talented writer, who could in one sentence break your heart, inspire you to change the world and make you smile wide. After her diagnosis in 2010, Shannon began writing a blog ( to share her experiences living with cancer: “the good and the bad.” Last year Shannon’s book idea, a memoir based off of her blog, won a publishing consultation at Darien Library’s Pitchapalooza competition.

A natural born advocate, Shannon used her experiences to raise public awareness about young adult cancer (, healthcare reform and student loan debt. She also helped to start the Young Professional Friends of the Center in Stamford, a group that raises awareness about sexual assault amongst young adults. Shannon was recently honored by The Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF) as “A Woman of Inspiration”.

Shannon is survived by her parents, as well as sisters Kelly Ianniello of Atlanta, Georgia and Casey Dunleavy of Baltimore, Maryland, brother-in-law Dave Ianniello, and niece, Hailey Ianniello.

Always the life of the party, Shannon attended her own celebration of life on Saturday, February 23, in Darien. Family and friends gathered to share laughter and love while wearing shades of Shannon’s favorite color, green. There will be a private memorial service.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made at