After a chance meeting in a New York City restaurant with a young boy who shared what life was like with brain cancer, Samantha Hasen was moved to raise awareness for children undergoing similar experiences. The encounter gave birth to her book, “Long Live the Little Ones.”
The nonprofit inspirational book is told through the eyes and visions of youngsters facing critical challenges such as pediatric cancer, cystic fibrosis, heart transplants, and autoimmune diseases. Proceeds from sales will go to Enduring Hearts, Lighthouse Family Retreat and the Arthritis Foundation.
Currently a student at Georgia State University, Hasen explains on the book’s website how “Long Live” came about. Five years ago, while dining in a restaurant with her grandparents, she noticed a boy who looked to be about 8 years old having dinner with his family nearby.
“He began to talk to me, and found himself asking questions. The first question was, ‘Have you ever had surgery?’ I immediately said, “Well, yes, I actually have.” He then began to tell me he had Stage 3 brain cancer. We continued to talk about how excited he was due to the fact that they were able to remove all of the tumors and were about to remove his ports.”
As dinner progressed, she said they both became more interested in talking than eating. Hasen was amazed and inspired by the boy’s positivity, resilience and strength.
“He showed me that no matter how much I think I am suffering, there is always a bright side. I learned through talking with him that it is up to me to see it or not,” Hasen wrote. “His decision to choose happiness was infectious.”
The encounter motivated her to create the book. Although Hasen failed to later find her young new friend, she hopes he or his family learns about what she’s done.
One of the organizations the book supports, Lighthouse Family Retreat, aims to strengthen families living with childhood cancer through restorative retreats and resources. Hasen visited with families during one such beach respite and collected for the book 12 drawings, including one from a young boy whose sister hopes to become a firefighter. “Long Live’s” survivor section also includes drawings.
The book was produced in collaboration with Ella Koscik, CEO and owner of MDI Group, an Atlanta-based IT staffing solutions firm.
“I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to support Sammie in this endeavor to spread awareness of critical illnesses that children simply shouldn’t have to face,” Koscik said. “The stories told in this book are inspiring, and I am proud of Sammie for having found a way for children in these situations to have their voices heard.”
For more information or to order “Long Live the Little One,” go here.
The book is supported by the Ella Marie Foundation, which seeks to make a difference in the lives of women and children by supporting healthcare initiatives, advocating empowerment through education, and fighting against global hunger.
The Arthritis Foundation supports arthritis patients by funding research, offering information about resources, and advocating legislatively. Enduring Hearts funds research that seeks to increase the longevity of pediatric heart transplant patients, improve patients’ lives, and eliminate pediatric heart diseases.
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