Imagine holding your child in your arms at the end of a normal day. All the thoughts of love and accomplishment for your young one, the hopeful pride in the idea of their yet unmet future, and just the comfort of living peacefully then in that moment warm your heart.
Imagine, if you can, having all of that goodness teetering on the edge of a knife. Childhood cancer does more than just foster grief within the hearts of its victims; it twists hope into something painful to hold, like a burning coal, though you desperately need it in order to stay warm.
Gabe Angus was only four years old when he was diagnosed with leukemia. Any age is too young for cancer, but four seems even more unfair. But even though his parents, Hank and Connie, found themselves thrust into a very frightening world of hospitalizations and treatments, they soon realized that they were not in this fight alone.
Through the help and support of the Four Diamonds Fund and ultimately THON–a huge, 46-hour, non-stop dance marathon and the world’s largest student-run philanthropy–the Angus family found their situation much more bearable and their future much brighter. After Gabe had started his second year of treatment in 2006, Hank and Connie decided to attend their first THON. Hank had been training for his first marathon, which he was planning to run in honor of Gabe. After attending THON, the crazy idea fell into place.
Run. Run all the way to THON.
What was born from this crazy idea is a 135-mile run from Hershey Medical Center to THON in State College. Two teams take turns running a stretch throughout the next 24 hours, passing off a backpack–the “magic pouch”–which contains letters of gratitude and hope from children being aided by the Four Diamonds Fund.
It all sounds a little crazy, and maybe that’s its greatest appeal. “People don’t pay attention unless it’s unusual, ” Hank said as we talked at the Cornerstone Coffeehouse, waiting for the runners to come by and pass off the magic pouch. And he’s right; it is unusual to see such time and energy, such personal sacrifice, being made on so large a level. But perhaps what is most inspiring is the idea of connecting those who are giving of themselves to those who are receiving their help. The letters could have easily been mailed and delivered. The Hope Express, however, is an act of deepest sincerity, an enthusiastically-given sacrifice for families to show their gratitude for hope.
If you’re reading this before supper time on Friday the 17th, then the Hope Express is still pushing forward towards State College. You can still donate by visiting their official website.
Welcome to the first installment of New Book Smell! Here you’ll find some upcoming books that have been hand-picked for your literary pleasure. While only a handful have made it onto this month’s list, this will be an expanding project that will keep your fingers itching to turn crisp new pages all year long!
No One is Here Except All of Us – Ramona Ausubel (Feb. 2, 2012)
In 1939, Jewish community in Romania feels the darkness of war surrounding them. Through the suggestion of one of its children and a stranger, the village decides to turn towards their imaginations and reinvent their lives. Jobs, families, and lovers are swapped to create a new world, one that escapes the horrors of reality. But when the young girl grows up, can she find the strength to return from their make-believe land to save her family?
Lone Wolf – Jodi Picoult (Feb. 28, 2012)
International Best-Seller author Jodi Picoult (My Sister’s Keeper) once again weaves a story wrought with some of the most difficult situations that life can bring–and there is no easy way out. After a horrible accident leaves his sister, Cara, injured and his father brain-dead, estranged son Edward Warren returns home after his self-prescribed exile to Thailand. Edward decides that it is time to cut off life support and donate his father’s organs, but are his decisions those of a dutiful son or of a vengeful man who cannot forgive his father?
Various Positions – Martha Schabas (Feb. 14, 2012)
The only time Georgia finds herself relieved of all the drama and hormones that come with being fourteen years old is when she dances. And when she’s accepted into a premier dance school, she revels in the idea of being the star pupil. But Georgia finds herself sprinting headlong into very adult situations. Is her teacher more than just a mentor? Is it right to hope so? And is it okay to sacrifice her morals and health to find out?
The Wolf Gift – Anne Rice (Feb. 14, 2012)
Book shelves have been absolutely saturated with vampire blood and werewolf fur for the past few years, but Anne Rice has decided it’s time to have a go herself. And just in time for Valentine’s Day! But Rice hasn’t completely returned to grim-and-gore after her latest dabbling in angelic spiritualism; while her take on the werewolf legend leaves her protagonist hunted by society and haunted by his own fears, he finds himself initiated into a world of what seems to be an ancient race of guardian creatures. Can the “Man Wolf” accept his new transformation as a gift more than a curse?
The Scar – Sergey and Marina Dyachenko (Feb. 28, 2012)
The first translation of a 1997 Russian novel, The Scar is a long-awaited arrival for English readers worldwide. It follows the downfall of Egert Soll, a member of the elite guard with an ego to boot. After killing an innocent student in a duel, he is approached by The Wanderer who leaves him scarred and cursed with cowardice. Egert can’t escape this crippling change in his personality–even too frightened of the thought of suicide–and yet he finds himself forced into the company of the murdered student’s own fiancée. This is a story that works beyond the world of fantasy and will therefore be a good story for even those who tend to avoid the genre.
That loveable comedian who has always made us laugh over the years has broken through the social networking scene. Steve Martin now has 1.4 million+ followers on Twitter, and now anyone can enjoy the hilarious wit he has concentrated into 140 characters. This collection is a great collector’s item for all fans, on- or offline!
Private Games - James Patterson (Feb. 13, 2012)
London, England. Summer, 2012. The Olympics are about to begin and the world’s most renowned investigation firm, Private, are called in to provide top-notch security during the games. But soon before the opening ceremonies, a man is murdered and the killer promises to restore the games back to their ancient glory. Though in peak physical, mental, and technological condition, can Private’s agents stand up to this criminal genius before it’s too late?
Nothing from NBS is guaranteed to become best-sellers, but they have been carefully chosen because they represent something new and exciting for their author and/or genre. If you would like to suggest new releases for next month, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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