A Childhood Cancer Survivor Blogging about the World of Childhood Cancer

Posts tagged ‘Ippy Awards’

NYC in a Nutshell

I have missed you… really, really missed you!

It seems like forever since I wrote. Maybe this has something to do with all that has happened since… whew!!!

As soon as Mom found out that my book was a Benjamin Franklin Award finalist, she began investigating and planning our travel to NYC. There are many people I want to thank for making our time an amazing and unforgettable time of my life!  I need to thank my Twin Friends, Mark, “Miracle Mary,” Tina, Polly, Hugh, and Vicki. These people made a huge effort to make my time in NYC incredible, and I am very, very grateful.


Arrived on Friday the 20th

 American Ballet Theater Don Quixote      Metropolitan Opera House 7:30

We thought we would arrive on time, but instead arrived fashionably late.  Who should we walk in at the same time with, but Sarah Jessica Parker? Yes, really. At Intermission, Mom and I met a lovely lady named Tina who used to dance with American Ballet Theater and has worked for them for 17 years. She graciously took us backstage where—I nearly fainted with this one—I stood on the stage, with my back to the closed curtain—at the Metropolitan Opera House in NYC while the finest dancers I have ever witnessed warmed up for the next act in front of my eyes. I had to keep reminding myself to breathe!

Thank you Mary and Tina!

Saturday the 21st

This day began with a great blessing. Have you ever met someone who you feel you have known all your life—even though you just met? Mom and I just “happened” to be in NYC at the exact same time as this someone. Hmmm… sounds like something The Great Conductor would arrange… like something only The Great Conductor could arrange!

Phantom of the Opera       Majestic Theater 2:00

Once again, “Miracle Mary” worked magic for me by contacting Polly. Can I just say right now that Phantom was the most amazing show—the most amazing talent—I have ever seen in my life???!  When Phantom was over, Mom and I met Polly, one of the performers, backstage and she gave us a backstage tour. Wow! To be able to go backstage and see all of the props, sets, and costumes was thrilling!  To top off the thrill, Polly introduced me to Hugh Panaro, the beyond spectacularly talented actor who played The Phantom. As talented as he was onstage, he was equally as gracious and kind when he greeted us backstage. As I was leaving, Polly gave me two very special gifts: a Phantom Poster and a pair of her pointe shoes—all signed by the cast.

Thank you Twin Friends, Mary, Polly, Hugh, and Vicki!

Sunday the 22nd

Nothing like a morning walk through Central Park! This was so much fun! It was beautiful, huge, full of surprises like gifted violin players and not-so-gifted trumpet players! It was all so entertaining and very enjoyable. We jammed in as much as we could before our next planned event:

Wicked   Gershwin Theater 3:00

I want to thank Vicki for helping us get great seats ahead of time… Mom and I thought of you when the friends sang the song about how their lives are better because they have known each other. We were SO happy to be able to see the show with Rachel, our friend who lives in NYC and is a huge advocate for children with cancer. Thanks Rachel for the great time and for the taxi lessons!

Monday the 23rd

How could we leave NYC without first seeing the Statue of Liberty??? We were up at the crack of dawn on our last day in NYC and on the Staten Island Ferry before the roosters were crowing. (Are there roosters in NYC?) We stood out on the bow of the ferry with the wind blowing in our faces and watched with wonder as Lady Liberty stood with her torch high above the harbor.

It is a site I have always wanted to see.

Another site we needed to visit before leaving was Ground Zero. I can only think of one word to describe the feeling inside me here… reverence.

As we ended our time there, I hailed the first taxi of my life… and it drove right on by us!!!!!!!

I did not give up, but attempted another wave. This time, the taxi stopped and it took us to Steps (a dance studio on Broadway) and I watched a class.

Our final NYC events:

Benjamin Franklin Awards Ceremony Bill Fisher Best First Book Nonfiction

This ceremony was at 5:00 at the Javits Center. We loved meeting and talking with publishers and authors; the food was good too! The category for my book was the second to last to be announced. To be one of the three finalists meant that I already felt I had won… but as the time grew closer to my category, I will admit that I could feel my hands go a bit clammy!

When IBPA announced Grace as the winner, I thought my heart would pound straight out of my chest!

As this award ceremony ended, we left and arrived at the next award ceremony just in time to receive a Silver Medal Ippy Award.

What a great, great time in NYC! Thank you, thank you to everyone who helped to make it the beautiful memory inside me that I will have always. I also want to thank everyone who has sent loving congratulations messages!

True success for my project will not come in the form of medals, trophies, or awards, but in more awareness for what children with cancer face… and ultimately, in finding cures. If medals and awards can help reach this goal, wouldn’t that be “Loverly”????????


NHS Dance Company


Grace Recieves A Silver Medal Ippy Award– Finalist in Benjamin Franklin Best First Book Nonfiction

Grace: A Child's Intimate Journey Through Cancer And Recovery

It’s two days after Mother’s Day, and today, I am writing about my mom.

As I begin to type, I search for the words to begin what I want to say–and instead of words–tears come rushing like rainfall down my face.  I love her.  I love her so much.

My mom listens to me.  She believes what I say. Without this gift she has given me, my cancer would not have been discovered until much, much later.  I would have suffocated.  But, my mom believed me when others did not.

And then… when my heart needed to give back in order to heal, guess who supported me every single step of the way? 

Then, when I began writing as a way of healing, she looked forward to hearing what I had written.  She believed it was something that could help others.  She took all of those spiral notebooks with scribbles and she typed the 90,000 words I had written into book form.  Have you ever typed 90,000 words?

It would have been easier to submit my story to a big publishing house at this point… but my mom’s Mama Bear instinct wouldn’t allow her to let someone else have the rights to my work.  She says it belongs to me as long as I am a minor! 

The next step has been an unbelievable amount of work for her, working to establish our publishing company, Happy Quail. Not many mothers and daughters have the opportunity to work together for a cause that both are passionate about.  By establishing Happy Quail, we have been free to make decisions about publishing my book that will benefit children with cancer.  Yes, the Quail is VERY Happy when we can do anything to help toward a cure!  

My mom has worked so hard that Grace: A Child’s Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery has been honored with the following Independent Publisher Awards:

From IBPA website:

“The IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards, which includes fifty-six categories recognizing excellence in both editorial and design, is regarded as one of the highest national honors in small and independent publishing. Winners will be announced at IBPA’s Publishing University, just prior to BookExpo America.”

2011 Benjamin Franklin Awards: The Bill Fisher Award for Best First Book (Nonfiction)


Ippy Awards Silver Medalist Juv-Teen Young Adult Nonfiction #24


The very, very best thing about these awards is that they will help children with cancer. Awareness is the first step toward giving hearts stepping up to help.

Mom, your giving heart will make a huge difference—beginning right now—in the lives of not only children with cancer, but others whose light has gone out for a bit.

Your love for me is lighting the world. 

Coming out from school when my first books arrived!

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