Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Book Review - Hope Faith and Charlie

I received a complimentary copy of the book Hope Faith and Charlie from author Deirdre Carey. Deirdre wrote this book in order to share the story of her baby boy's heroic battle with cancer. When her baby, Charlie, was just about six months old, he was diagnosed with a rare form of brain and spine cancer. Their world was turned upside down. Soon, Deirdre, her husband John, and their other young son, Jay, were thrust into a world full of doctor appointments, hospital stays, medical treatments, and surgical procedures.

When Charlie was first diagnosed, doctors gave him less than a 20% chance to survive. Less than 20%! I cannot even imagine the helplessness that this family must have felt. But, Deirdre and her family just wouldn't accept that and reached out to other medical experts for more opinions. They met a doctor who immediately made an impression on them, saying that "we don't focus on statistics" instead "we treat the child, the individual, not as a number, but as a person." This was the first professional to give them a glimmer of hope since learning of Charlie's diagnosis and they knew she was the person they wanted to oversee Charlie's care.

What came next was almost two grueling years of extremely aggressive chemotherapy treatments. Through it all, Charlie proved to everyone that he was a fighter. His sheer will and strength was awe-inspiring. Deirdre became a fierce advocate for Charlie - always asking questions and demanding answers about her son's condition and treatment. In her own words, she "freaked out" over the smallest things. But, this was her baby boy. Can you blame her? Deirdre was totally devoted to her family and determined to fight for Charlie. She also remained committed to making sure that their other son, Jay, had as normal a childhood as possible. She vowed that cancer would not control their lives.

From the beginning, Charlie's family asked everyone they knew (and even those they didn't know) to pray for Charlie. They truly believed in the power of prayer and always maintained hope that Charlie could be saved. There was an outpouring of support from friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, and even strangers. So many people came through for this family in so many ways, providing not only emotional and financial support, but also help with the little things that really made a difference in their daily life (cooking meals, cleaning their house, shoveling their driveway, etc).

Today, Charlie is in remission, living the life of a normal, happy school-kid. Sadly, Deirdre's marriage came to a sudden unexpected ending shortly after Charlie's therapy was stopped. But, once again, Deirdre persevered. She is now a working single mother, taking care of her boys and in a happy loving relationship. Though it was sad and heartbreaking to read, it was also very uplifting. I am a believer in miracles and this powerful story just made my belief even stronger.

10% of all proceeds from the sale of Hope Faith and Charlie will be donated directly to The Floating Hospital for Children's Cancer Center at Tufts-New England Medical Center (where Charlie was treated). If you would like to purchase this book, you can visit www.hopefaithandcharlie.com


septembermom said...

Thank you for this review. I love a book that restores my faith in miracles. This will definitely go on my list, Kari!

Jenners said...

This sounds like a really inspiring book... and a really inspiring woman! I feel so bad that she went through all that and then when things were getting better, her marriage fell apart. Great review.