Book Review: Never Give Up and the Let It Be Foundation
Posted Oct 20 2011 9:39pm
Today is a special day (October 21st) in our household; it is my wife’s birthday. As we joke in the family it is less about a “birthday” but more about a birth month celebration for her. But today’s blog is a special dedication to her and the struggle and fight she had five or so years ago. I have mentioned it before but she is a breast cancer survivor. Those days seem so very long ago now but they still haunt us in a sense. There is always some reminder of that period and how cancer seems to affect so many family members, friends, neighbors or the world for that matter. You never forget the details of first hearing when someone has cancer. You’ll never forget the chemo and radiation treatments and the reactions to some of her medications. During that time you learn a lot about what is important in life, what really matters, the strength of a family and the love or commitment of your friends. In the end I am very proud of her for the way she fought it and how that period brought us closer. I am also very proud of her support for cancer organizations and the effort to find a cure or support others who have or have had the disease.
So my online gift to my wife today is to help bring awareness to one wonderful book and organization that helps persons or families dealing with cancer or other impact-full illnesses. It is my way to share her renewed life and the general message of hope, faith and those who try and make the world better for others dealing with illness.
All of this began some weeks ago when I was contacted to see if I wanted to review a book entitled Never Give Up - How to Find Hope and Purpose in Adversity. As much as I was intrigued by the email and description I did not think it would be a fit for this running blog. A second request came and once again I pushed it aside. Then on the third email I took a new look at what the spirit of the book truly was about. I realized is about never giving up even in the worst of times and to live each day of your life. The bells finally went off and I saw why I needed to talk about this book and organization. We all need to hear the message that the book brings. So today I offer this review of the book Never Give Up - How to Find Hope and Purpose in Adversity by Ruthe Rosen. I am very pleased and proud to be a part of their online/blog book tour and to help spread the work of both the book and Foundation.
The formal description of the book is: When Ruthe Rosen’s fourteen-year-old daughter, Karla, was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor and given only a year to live, Ruthe and her entire family did more than cope with the unimaginable—they embraced it. In their love and faith they found the strength to be there for Karla in every way as she endured chemotherapy and radiation treatments. And when, after a year of hopes lifted and hopes dashed, Karla lost her fight with cancer, they created The Let It Be Foundation in her honor, turning their memory of her courage and unwavering optimism into a legacy of community service. Throughout her ordeal, Karla never succumbed to self-pity or despair, and despite their grievous loss, neither did her loved ones.
The book is a journal of sorts of roughly the last year of Karla’s life. The core of the book is from her diagnosed of brain stem cancer, to her passing and the eventual creation of the Let It Be Foundation a couple of years later. The book is about that year long journey dealing with their daughter’s illness and the spiritual strength and faith Karla had in her last year. Yes, it is about the struggle of an illness and the loss of a young life. But it is more importantly about attitude, belief in one’s faith and the willingness not to succombed emotionally or spiritually to the illness or situation. It is about making the most of your life and truly living your life to its fullest. Thou Karla’s story is about a fight with cancer, the message of the book is for any struggle or fight in life. It would be a misunderstanding of the message to only think the book is about cancer.
I have to admit that reading this book was difficult for me. In reading a book about someone’s life and their passing you know unfortunately how it will end. I knew the book would be about the journey she took and not really about the final destination for her. I also found I had a lot of old memories and feelings come to the surface while reading the book from back when my wife was going through treatments. So there were some repressed emotions starting to surface before I even broke the cover of this book. I pushed aside the best I could those emotions to focus on this recorded journey of what I would soon discover to be an amazing young woman , her family and the community around her. Once I started the book I could not put it down. Any spare moment I had I needed to read to see what happened next in the journey.
The story to me is just how quickly life can change. Even with the Rosen’s they seemed to be living the American dream. A family with three healthy kids and very busy like most of us are running their kids to their various activities. A series of headaches, a cat scan test one afternoon and a medical result changed a family and really a community forever in just a matter of hours. Your healthy child who is so excited to perform in their first school dance performance now is told that the priorities in her life have just changed. That life as she knows it will be drastically different. In a matter of a few days the busy, scheduled flow of the Rosen’s life changed on a dime. It was now all about doing the most for their child and journeying into the unknown. But what comes out of the book is light from the darkness and a story of how this one family worked through it from the darkest days to days of great news and hope. Of how their daughter Karla provided a rare understanding of her situation and expression of her faith. How she helped not only her family and friends better come to peace with her illness but to help others as well with their illnesses.
I personally have to say that this book has touched me. It is so very strange that a book or the story of a young woman that I never met moved me so deeply. But through the pages of the book I did meet her in a sense and could feel the spiritual force that she shared with her family, friends, care givers, other patients and community. I have been lucky enough to have met some powerful or influential people in my life. But the true goodness, caring and faith that Karla shared with the world during her illness is truly remarkable. I wish I would have known her even for a short time, to experience firsthand this energy and faith you typically never experience. The book reminded me what is important in life, that you should be thankful for each day and do the most with each day you can. It also reminded me just how fragile life is and that there are no guarantees of tomorrow. I think we all forget that with our busy lives and sometime focus on things that may not truly be so important while we need to embrace other things like our family and faith. I know since reading the book that I hug my family a little more, get upset with them a little less an am very appreciative of everyday I have them.
My fear today is that my review does not do the book the justice it deserves and the message that it tries to communicate. I hope that you will read the book for yourself and see what message it communicates to you and how it might strengthen your faith or demonstrate why you should never give up. As Karla would have said "Amen".
The publisher has been kind enough to provide three copies of the book for me to give away to the Sole Daddy readers. Anyone interested in reading this wonderful book or giving it to someone who is in need of such a message of faith please email me.
10/21/11 11pm – Looks like we have our three winners for the book. The readers receiving a copy of Never Give Up book by Ruthe Rosen are Connie Koerth, Kathy Miller and the Mothers of Disciples FUMC group. Congratulations everyone and enjoy the book. The book will be forwarded to you as soon as I receive them from the publisher.
The Let It Be Foundation
In today’s world it is sad to think that stories of children being ill are not uncommon. But maybe this has always been the way historically with children, that is being no different than adults with illnesses. Maybe in today’s world of instant media we are simply more aware that these children and young adults struggle with the same terrible illnesses that we adults do. There is such a need for support in so many different ways for these families as they deal with the illnesses. I know personally cancer and heart disease has impacted my family in a very personal and deep way. But I remember even when I was a small boy the support that my grandmother received from organizations for medical supplies while dealing with cancer. In more recent years a wonderful organization helped my wife through her fight through a number of services and by providing counseling and other support. God bless these people and organizations for what they do.
The Let It Be Foundation seems to me to be another of these truly caring and special organizations. Why? Because the Rosens lived it and know what is needed during such times.
The Let It Be Foundation helps families with children who have been diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses or medical conditions. It provides such services as housekeeping, grocery shopping and meals, opportunities for family recreation, and help in meeting the needs of siblings. This caring assistance allows the children and their families to maintain a sense of normalcy in their lives and sustain hope as they battle the most serious illnesses.
I think it is a great way to remember Karla by keeping the spirit of her faith and caring alive. If you are in the area where this organization is active, please support it. As it plans and tries to expand out to other areas of the country in years to come also please consider supporting it and or being a part of that growth. If there are other similar organizations or even Hospices in your community please consider supporting it in some fashion as well.
To support the Let It Be foundation or purchase the book please visit www.theletitbefoundation.org . Proceeds from the sale of this book will benefit foundation.
Never Give Up: How to Find Hope and Purpose in Adversity
Trade softcover 186 pages
Published by Cypress House
Publication date September 15, 2011