After my best friend Lindsay’s 2010 breast cancer diagnosis at age 28, my eyes were opened to the world of cancer. Her diagnosis was shocking, given her young age and healthy lifestyle. I watched a community rally around her while she navigated her way through this unexpected diagnosis and was incredibly inspired. I learned through Lindsay that while cancer can be both devastating and destructive, it also has the extraordinary ability to spark hope, strengthen faith, and unite so many of us in a positive way!
Two and a half years after her diagnosis, Lindsay became a mother for the first time via a parent surrogate. Children have such a powerful way of being the light in times of darkness. The amount of love circulating through the room on the night her son was born was immeasurable. Being a witness to her effortless embrace of motherhood while continuing treatment indefinitely for metastatic breast cancer was emotional to witness. It was such a testament to how powerful the bond is between a mother and child. Lindsay has never faltered in her role as a mother- even on those trying days of feeling exhausted and discouraged. The love shared between Lindsay and her son is profoundly special, and he has given her even more of a reason to forge ahead in her fight.
Feeling so moved by her journey, I decided to write a children’s book capturing the love between a mother and child through a cancer diagnosis. I wanted it to be impactful and to serve a special purpose – a book that would speak to both parents and children during this difficult reality by using one of the major side effects of cancer treatment to fuel adventures, encourage hope and teach acceptance.
As I began to write, I knew immediately that my sister, Jessica, would be the perfect illustrator. Not only did she have the talent and compassion to bring my story to life, but she knew Lindsay, and I could not imagine collaborating on this project with anyone else. HATventures of Hope was born!
Not only were we anxious to provide families with a children's book that embodied hope during a time of despair, but we were even more excited to make a small difference in the fight against breast cancer. As we thought about what fund we wanted to support, it wasn't a difficult decision. We chose The Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research because aside from being local to the state of Ohio, where we were born and raised, it's a fund that is fully committed to making sure every dollar donated goes directly to research. We are proud to be able to donate a portion of every net sale to an honest and authentic charity that truly stands for finding a cure for breast cancer.
by Jenny McCray