Healing Through Words

Healing Through Words

Today’s book signing at Market Block Books is dedicated to all the children who have lost their lives to cancer and their peers who have been so terribly affected. I think about the siblings, friends, cousins, and fellow classmates who carry the pain and fear of losing someone so young and close to their age. It gives them a hard lesson in mortality at an age when they should be filled with possibilities not finalities.

Children battling cancer or any life-threatening illness suffer from the loss of innocence, structure, playfulness as well as the loss of physical abilities, hair, and possibly having a family of their own.

I write fiction to soften the harshness of these realities and provide hope where it can be tough to find any. Today, two of my beta readers came by and bought books for themselves and friends. (Well their mom did! Thank you, Felicia!) One book was dedicated to Blue Creek school readers in memory of Ben Stowell, an amazing boy who lost his life to cancer. This request made me pause. They would have been too young to know Ben, but their mom makes sure they are aware and know the impact that Ben has on their community. They are affected just knowing that cancer exists.

dedication to ben stowell

But they choose to be positive and raise awareness. Part of my purpose in writing is just what I wrote in the dedication for Ben: “No matter where you are, there is hope.”

No matter how much Rose struggles and screws up her quests in Saving Atlantis, she can always start again and have hope that the next time she will succeed. No matter how much Peter wishes Luke was home with him, he has a family that loves him unconditionally. Through love there is hope.

No matter how much I miss my beauty of a boy, my Nick, children like Rebecca and Mackenzie spread hope by remembering Ben Stowell. I wish the world will one day be free of cancer and that no child will have to suffer. Connections like I have with these two beautiful young ladies carry me through another day.


September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Awareness to find a cure, safer treatments, and provide emotional support to everyone affected, whether it’s through counseling, supportive gatherings, or a book filled with possibilities.

To everyone who came to my event today, you helped this mission. Thank you.

What Makes Them Amazing

Featured from Left to Right:
Back Row: Stephen Cammarata with a photo of his brother Nick, Sammie Sagnelli, Kassidy Krenzer, Kirstin Hodges,
Marcus & Jaclyn Romano with a photo of  their brother Luke
Front Row: Zach Dymond, Ben Mayo, Nick Bowen, Nick Heald

Two years ago I started interviewing young adults who were either in the midst of battling cancer or had cancer as a child and were still dealing with the physical ramifications. In addition I interviewed the family and friends of Luke Romano who lost his valiant battle with cancer and I wrote about my son Nick who was my link to the world of cancer after he was diagnosed. 

Every young adult featured in this book gave back to the community and other cancer families through fundraising, sharing their experiences, offering a shoulder to cry or lean on, or leaving an inspiring legacy. Their journeys laid the groundwork for my latest book: What Makes Them Amazing: Inspiring Stories of Young Adults Fighting Cancer

From each young adult, I have learned that there is more than one way to get through cancer, to live with loss, to go on, or to give back; laughter and love can get you through almost anything; and there is always HOPE.

My wish is that everyone who reads this book will realize that “Nothing is Impossible,” as Nick told his little brother Stephen and that you will give a copy of this book to anyone battling cancer.  You don’t have to have cancer to appreciate the lessons these young adults share. You only need an open heart and mind.

Proceeds from the sales of this book are donated to Nick’s Fight to be Healed Foundation.  A copy of this book will be given to every pediatric cancer patient being treated at The Melodies Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Albany Medical Center as part of our mission to help children heal. 

If you’d like a copy of this book or wish to attend upcoming book events, please go to www.fighttobehealed.org for more information.

These young adults touched my heart and I know you will be amazed.