DEATH IS BECOMING
by Jamie Leigh Hansen
Free Book to raise Childhood Cancer Awareness
This Halloween, college girl, Erin Kowalkski, battles cancer once again. But this time, she has questions and she’s dying to know the answers. What will her dreams and aspirations, all she’s learned, felt and experienced, amount to when she’s gone? What will she become?
Guided by a hot new patient and chased by a menacing wraith, Erin learns more about life and death than she’d ever imagined.
The day after Thanksgiving 2003, my 8 year old daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumor. I was 28 and had no idea what was in store for her or for our family. It was a terrifying situation and yet, no matter what we didn’t know, we had to make crucial decisions about our daughter’s life. Knowing now the kinds of decisions we made then, without knowing any better, is enough to stop my heart.
What neurosurgeon was going to do the initial de-bulking surgery? Why, the one on call whom we met the first day, of course.
Really? Not knowing the enormous difference between pediatric and adult medicine, let alone a neurosurgeon and a pediatric neurosurgeon, my husband and I agreed to let this doctor inside our daughter’s head.
I tell you what, we lucked out. Big time. We were introduced to the best pediatric neurosurgeon in Spokane. In fact, he was the only one in Spokane ten years ago. Who knew a surgeon so specialized was that rare?
If you know, then I’m scaring you now.
That weekend, we met two wonderful ladies who welcomed us to a group called Candlelighters. The organization is now renamed American Childhood Cancer Organization, ours is of the Inland Northwest. ACCOIN. These ladies and this organization helped us through the most frightening experiences of our lives.
9 months into chemo, a 7 year old boy we’d befriended lost his war.
Three years later, one of those ladies lost her 18 year old daughter to her second bought of cancer. A second cancer believed to be caused by a chemo med from her first battle, when she was 12. During those three years, this sweet girl came to mean so much to us.
One month later, my 18 year old cousin died in a car accident. He’d been adopted out and we hadn’t seen him for a dozen years. I fed him. I changed him. I babysat him for the few years we had him. Then I never saw him again. Our grandmother saw notice of his death on the news. Lucky us.
In my grief for all those I’ve lost, I created a world where they still lived. Where they still had chances to grow and become everything we believe they could have become if only.
Me being me, it isn’t a perfect world. It’s dark, filled with frightening monsters that threaten ones sense of self. But it’s also light, with opportunities for love, happiness and redemption.
I have now written a story in this world to share with everyone. The characters are fictional, but the rest…
DEATH IS BECOMING is free. The purpose of it is to raise awareness of childhood cancer. One day, I would like to see clothes with a gold ribbon. Yogurt tops with a gold ribbon. Anything with a gold ribbon. I believe in the pink ribbon, I know any research benefits all research, but like with neurosurgery, there are differences between children and adults. Death Is Becoming is what I can do to pay it forward.
I want to give back to the organizations that aided us over our hurdles so they can help others. At the end of Death is Becoming, there is a letter from me that includes a list of things people with money and without can do to support the families suffering through the darkness.
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month and ACCOIN’s slogan is simple. We’ve put a yellow lightbulb in our porch light and are encouraging others to do so as well. Let’s “Paint the town gold…because kids can’t fight cancer alone.”
Download your copy of DEATH IS BECOMING. Share it. Tweet it. Talk about it. And most of all, encourage readers to support these organizations in any way they can. Anything to raise awareness for this sinister disease.
Death Is Becoming on Smashwords.
*This book is uploading at Barnes & Noble, Amazon and iTunes. Until their technical stuff has worked through its process, they may try to charge $ for the book. Be patient and it will work out. Until then, Smashwords has it for a free download in any format.
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