During September, all proceeds from I’m 13 Years Old And I Changed The World will be donated to Team Cure, a nonprofit organization created by high schoolers that sends care packages to childhood cancer fighters.
To increase awareness of childhood cancer, September has been designed Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. As pediatric cancer is the number one cause of death by disease in the United States of America, it is vital that clinical trials and other research continue pushing ahead to help young boys and girls fight cancer.
Thanks to advanced cancer therapy options, there are more pediatric cancer survivors than ever. But still, another child receives a cancer diagnosis every two minutes, and every one brings about fear and uncertainty.
What does this have to do with a children’s book writer?
The Young Cancer Warrior Next Door
A few years ago, I was working on my second middle-grade fiction book, I’m 13 And I Changed The World. Whereas I’m 12 Years Old And I Saved The World handles the tough subjects of marital and money problems, this one has a different angle that is just as difficult to swallow.
In this book, Big Mike is facing something even bigger than himself. The goofy and beloved ogre of a middle school kid has cancer.
Growing up, I didn’t have much firsthand experience with childhood cancer. I knew a couple kids who had cancer during childhood, but I wasn’t particularly close to them. As a result, I didn’t see the side effects of chemo up close and personal until years later when cancer cells attacked my grandmother, who was living with me and my family.
Right around the time I finished writing and editing and editing and writing, a young man named Dylan, who attended my daughters’ school, was diagnosed with a bone cancer called osteosarcoma.
It was heartbreaking news, and I felt helpless. I wanted to do something, but what?
I couldn’t start a new research center or be part of the family’s health care team.
I couldn’t boost his immune system to lessen the impact of whatever treatment options he was undergoing.
I couldn’t strong-arm the government into giving more funding for pediatric cancer research.
But I could sell books and donate the proceeds.
So I did what smart authors do (and I rarely do). I contacted my local paper to get some press. If I was going to make a donation, I needed as much support as possible.
They wrote a great piece, which helped raise more than $1,000 to help the Duncans with medical bills, utilities, food, or whatever else they needed. (Scan to the bottom for the story they wrote.)
Supporting Childhood Cancer Warriors beyond My Front Door
Since helping Dylan’s family, I’ve learned of a great organization with a heart for pediatric cancer and childhood cancer research. Founded by high school students, Team Cure spreads awareness about the need for cancer research and sends care packages across the world to children with cancer.
For children forced to visit cancer centers and meet with oncology groups, these care packages offer a much-needed infusion of hope. These bits of hope instantly cheer up young cancer patients and lets them know people care and are supporting them in their cancer fight. Because no matter if a child is battling neuroblastoma, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, brain cancer, or another type of childhood cancer, finding joy and hope along the way is essential.
What will it take to end pediatric cancer and all cancer? More people who understand the need for research and are willing to put their money where their mouth is. What does it take to encourage a youngster battling childhood cancer? You can do it for $5.99.
Because this September, I am donating all proceeds from I’m 13 Years Old And I Saved The World to Team Cure. So buy a book, enjoy a heartwarming read, and take comfort knowing your purchase will brighten a future cancer survivor’s day!
Story below originally published in the Cleveland Daily Banner.
In D.K. Brantley’s first book, I’m 12 Years Old And I Saved The World (Sir Brody Books, $5.99), Adam Shannon Dakota Carr had to save his parents’ marriage by helping them fall in love again. In the follow-up book, I’m 13 Years Old And I Changed The World, Adam faces a deadly foe: cancer. And it’s attacking his best friend, Big Mike.
In the real world, rising seventh grade student Dylan Duncan is battling cancer. A student at Tennessee Christian Preparatory School in Cleveland, Tennessee, Dylan was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in May 2016. His mother, Becky Duncan, has since taken leave from work to care for Dylan, which has meant an immediate and drastic drop in family income.
“We’ve known the Duncan family for years,” Daniel said. “They’re very sweet people who are in a situation I can’t imagine. As soon as I heard about Dylan, I felt I had to do something to help.”
The way Daniel decided to help is by giving the Duncan family the first few months’ profit of his book sales. Until the end of 2016, all profit from every book Daniel sells—including his older works—will go to the Duncan family.
Vernon Duncan, Dylan’s father, told Daniel he hopes others will heed the lesson of the Duncans’ story. Initially, physicians diagnosed Dylan with severe growing pains. However, the Duncans felt something bigger was going on in Dylan’s body. So they sought additional testing, which led to Dylan’s diagnosis.
“Parents need to follow their God-given instincts and not rely solely on medical professionals, because sometimes they get it wrong,” Vernon said. “The surgeon at Vanderbilt said she had never seen this type of cancer caught this early before, and the oncologist told us that if we’d relied on the first specialist, Dylan’s cancer would have spread within six months and we may have gotten a much different outcome!”
You can now pre-order D.K. Brantley’s new book, I’m 13 Years Old And I Saved The World (Sir Brody Books, $6.99), at Amazon.com. Prefer to help the Duncans without purchasing a book? Visit https://www.gofundme.com/23m4tf8 to make a gift of any amount.
And don’t forget to leave a review once you read it. That will help more folks find the book and buy it, leading to more money for the Duncans!