Mrs. Donna Nell’s Story of Perseverance through Hardship

Donna Nell McAllister McElveen lost her son and husband three months apart.

She said she survived through faith.

McElveen, a third-grade teacher, has written a book, “Through It All: The Miracle Mural,” about her experiences. She shared her story Wednesday morning in a speech at The Carolina Academy’s last chapel service of the year.

McElveen’s son, Shane McElveen, had a love for art and felt an urgency to paint the miracles of the Bible on the nursey walls at Scranton Baptist Church with his children a few months before his death. In the book, McElveen shares how her son’s courage through crisis, and his determination to leave a legacy and labor of love, demonstrates the evidence of God’s strength and power in his life.

“I just felt I had to share Shane’s faith, that even being sick, you can do God’s work and carry his message,” McElveen said.

She knew she wanted to tell Shane’s story, but also had to tell the story of her husband, Cary McElveen.

Shane was born with heart complications and was “brushed with death several times” during his 38 years of life. Cary died three months after Shane. McElveen said Cary was heartbroken about their son’s death and was so physically ill “that he lost his will to live.”

McElveen began writing “Through it All: The Miracle Mural” in September 2015 after he husband’s death.

“That morning, I was on the way to school and God just said, ‘Donna you write, and I’ll deliver,’” McElveen said. “And that’s what I did.”

Through everything she has experienced, McElveen said, she has learned to depend on God’s word.

“I have truly walked through the fire and have experienced deep valleys during my lifetime, but I keep reflecting on many mountaintop experiences,” McElveen told the crowd Tuesday morning. “Build your homes on a firm rock where life’s storms cannot shake you.”

McElveen has shared her testimony in her church, Scranton Baptist, and at surrounding churches. Through her book, she wanted to share the miracles that came through her brokenness, grief and heartbreak.

“Through It All: The Miracle Mural” can be purchased on Amazon. For a copy of the book, people can also text McElveen at 843-373-2771, send an email to or find her on Facebook by searching Donna Nell McElveen.

This article was written by Shamira McCray at (