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The Books Cancer Made Me Write

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Like the rays of the sun,
cancer touches just about everybody. By the time one reaches the age of 60,
many acquaintances, good friends, and dearly loved family members have had to
battle cancer: A few manage to defeat this deadly opponent; others extend the
fight; and many succumb.


As July 1995 came to a close, I
had just completed the first draft of my eighth book for young people and
adults, Nana, Grampa
and Tecumseh
. D’Ann, my wonderful wife of 33 years, had just
retired, and we were looking forward to slowing down and traveling more.


Two weeks later, D’Ann was
diagnosed with uterine cancer. Four mouths later, she passed. Those four months
of being a caregiver while searching for a curative treatment posed the
greatest challenge of my life. My wife’s courage gave me the strength and love
to take care of her 24 hours a day until she died in my arms.


I imagine that life is changed
forever for many women and men faced with taking care of a dying loved one,
hoping against hope for a miracle that does not come. Certainly my life was.
Questioning the wisdom of the universe in taking my wife led me to do research
and read books that I would never have read otherwise. Eventually, those books
led me to a meeting with medium George Anderson. Although I was skeptical, a
year after D’Ann’s death, I met with George, and that meeting turned my view
and understanding of life upside down.


When you meet with George, he asks
only for your first name, and you respond to statements he offers by simply
saying “Yes” (I understand—recognize the name and the statement’s
relevance to my life) or “No” (the name and/or statement has no relevance to
me, at least at this time). The session lasted an hour and a half, and many of
my family members who had passed came through, including D’Ann. Through George,
they all conveyed facts and situations that only my loved ones and I could have
known. As I left the building, I felt not only joyful beyond words, having
learned that my loved ones were fine, but also overwhelmed by knowledge that
our life here is not the end.


Two Books Later


More than a year went by, though,
before I thought of sharing my experiences and what I had learned. Then I
wondered whether sharing them in a book might mean I would be hotly pursued by
people in white coats carrying big butterfly nets.


Than We Imagine
is a book I never
expected to write or wanted to write but eventually felt I must
write—and, I guess I could add, was supposed to write. In the two years
since its publication, I have received hundreds of letters thanking me for
baring my soul. The first edition is almost sold out, and the second edition
will be reprinted in 2006.


One of the joys of being an author
is giving books to organizations that want to auction off signed copies. During
the past 16 years, I have been honored to help cancer organizations, in a small
way, reach their fund-raising goals by donating books.


Several years ago, the president
of one of these organizations told me she saw a need for a book about children
with cancer. She talked about how a child’s cancer changes and controls a
family’s life. She described the ways wonderful support groups help families


I wondered if I could meet the
president’s challenge. All my books focus on universal values such as love,
generosity, determination, and courage, and on challenges we face, such as
disabilities, prejudice, loss, homelessness, difficult family relationships,
and so forth. All my stories, according to critics, have “positive and
inspirational endings.” Could I write a story for both children and adults that
dealt realistically with cancer and created a plausible, positive, and
inspirational ending?


Three years of research and
writing created Royal
Koi and Kindred Spirits
, and it took an additional year for Becky
Haletky to complete the beautiful illustrations. It is a story that focuses on
children with cancer but also on themes such as community involvement,
diversity, sacrifice, compassion, and love.


Five percent of all sales will go
to cancer organizations. It is my hope and dream that my effort in writing this
story will in a small way help those who are battling cancer as well as those
who are trying to find a cure to this scourge.


To learn more about Richard
Wainwright’s books and/or to order them, visit rmwainwright.com or call 800/633



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