“The touching, unforgettable story of two brave girls fighting a deadly disease, and the loving support of the women who gave them life.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Shared memoir of two mothers whose daughters are fighting cancer, by artist, writer, and self-help coach Lane (I Am the Wind, 2011) and Nersten, home-schooling mom.
Two 12-year-old girls battled the same rare form of cancer, virtually simultaneously. Through the Internet—CarePages specifically—their mothers, Lane and Nersten, connected and eventually formed a deep bond, borne of shared experience. While Celeste in Toronto and Hayley in New Jersey dealt with surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, their mothers offered each other support and love via email, and the girls grew close via Skype. Despite the fact that the daughters and mothers shared an unusual diagnosis, similar treatment protocol, and strong faith, they are different in many ways. Lane is divorced from Celeste’s father, and her daughter had been living with her father two hours away. During Celeste’s treatment, Lane enjoyed the rare gift of spending hours on end with her daughter, as she and Celeste’s stepmother, Michelle, alternated days in the hospital. Knowing at the outset that one girl will survive—but not which one—makes the story more poignant. Though undeniably sad, the memoir is never maudlin, instead managing to inspire hope and admiration as a young girl chooses how she wishes to spend her final days. Conveyed via prose, email messages, and Facebook posts, the memoir reads quickly, seeming far shorter than its 200-plus pages. Although both women are deeply caring mothers who rely heavily on their faith, their different personalities emerge: Lane is the artist, seeking creative outlets for her feelings, while Nersten is a nurturer, spending her rare time away from Hayley with her other two children and constantly expressing concern for Lane’s custody situation. Although the authors intended their book for parents facing a child’s cancer diagnosis, the memoir serves as an inspirational story of hope for the general reader. Hayley and Celeste were heartbreakingly, unbelievably strong.