Sick kids write their own life stories in new book series
They’ve battled illness. They’ve battled bullies. And now, thanks to a new program at Montreal Children’s Hospital, they’re sharing it all in their very own books.
The Kids Write Club, a program that started at a Montreal elementary school, encourages kids at the hospital to tell their powerful stories of medical and emotional turbulence in their own words.
Twelve-year-old Claudia Martino, the author of the first book in the series from the hospital, says she hopes to inspire other sick kids with her young words of wisdom.
Claudia was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma at the age of four. While she isn’t back at school yet, she is feeling better after a bone marrow transplant in December.
Her book, “My Magic Box”, acts as an inspiring survival guide for other childhood warriors.
“I was excited to let all kids going through this, let them know that it’s OK and tell them they can do it,” Claudia told CTV News.
Claudia also hopes to change some perceptions about sick kids.
“Just because we don’t have hair or eyelashes, that doesn’t mean we’re any different from you,” said Claudia.
Writing the book has given Claudia some valuable perspective, especially when it comes to her grandmother, who lost her battle with cancer after fighting the disease three times.
“She understood everything I’m going through. “I would tell her, ‘Keep going and keep going.’ But she couldn’t anymore. It was just too hard,” Claudia said. “I dedicated this in memory of my grandma.”
Proceeds from the book go to Claudia’s tribute fund at the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation, which helps other young patients in the hematology and cancer department.
The second book in the series is by Alex Stathopoulos, who needs a kidney transplant and undergoes dialysis three times a week.
He shares his story “Give Me a Break,” and hopes one day to look back and remember everything he went through; the good and the bad.
“I had the stroke and lost my vision and lost my memory and I had to start from scratch,” he told CTV News. “Letters and numbers I had to learn again.”
His book is due out this summer.