I'm honored to have yet again been asked by Zest Books, to participate in one of their amazing book blog tours. This time, for their newest release: Regine's Book: A Teen Girl's Last Words.
So first and foremost, a big thank you to Zest Books, for allowing me to be a part of something so wonderful. This is a topic near and dear to my heart, and I'm so grateful to have had the chance to work on this project, with all of the other wonderful bloggers.
Zest Books Summary:
Regine Stokke began her blog after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia in 2008. Her goal was to paint a realistic picture of what it’s like battling a life-threatening illness - and to share her experience with the world.
Regine’s Book: A Teen Girl’s Last Words, new from Zest Books, is Regine’s personal story as it was written on her blog, and features her own photography and artwork, as well as comments from blog readers and entries from those who loved her most. The book deals with every facet of living with cancer, from the good days to the bad and everything in between.
“The fear of no longer existing never goes away,” Regine confesses only a few months before her death. “I’m afraid to leave the world and I don’t want to do it. I think about my family, and about my friends. I have to fight for them. I can’t leave them behind with that sorrow. I have to try everything I can, despite how bleak everything looks.”
Read an excerpt from Regine’s Book in HuffPost Teen - or read a teen’s review of Regine’s Book from YA Think, Burbank Public Library’s Teen Blog.
Zest Books has graciously made a donation to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Team in Training in Regine’s honor, upon publication of Regine’s Book. In addition to joining our blog action, we urge you to consider supporting these incredible organizations in any way you can:
****And my personal favorite: Stand Up 2 Cancer, where 100% of your donation goes straight to saving lives right now! Please join my team: StandUp4Ohana - Ohana meaning Family in Hawaiian - and help the fight for anyone in your Ohana, that has been affected by this horrible disease.
So today, I'm blogging for Regine - and for every single individual out there, touched by cancer. Please also check out my good friend and fellow YA writer, Sara Biren: Crow River Writer, who blogged yesterday for Regine - I'm so grateful Sara decided to do this book tour with me and share her own personal journey.
And don't forget all of the other bloggers who participated, by clicking on the "I'm Blogging For Regine" image to the left.
This was an incredibly tough read for me - not only because it was authentic and raw, but also because of how close to home it hit. But I expected that, even before I started in on the first page.
So, so, many of us have been touched by cancer - too many of us in fact. And reading a personal journey through the eyes of a seventeen-year-old, only solidified my belief that we must continue to search for a cure to end this devastating illness.
In Regine's Book, she told it like it was. She never once glossed over the gruesome details of what cancer really does not only to the human body, but also to the soul. She struggled to understand why friends began to drift away - realizing they actually believed they could "catch" cancer from her - and how unfair it was to not be able to plan for her future, when everyone else around her was. Every page of this book made me wonder, how much more can this amazing individual possibly endure? And how does one - at such a young age - face their own mortality?
No one should have to deal with the horrendous effects of this disease and I wish I could find a cure, myself. This is why I'll keep donating to the cause. Because someone brilliant, out there, will find a cure some day - and if I can contribute to that in any way, I'll do whatever I can.
Which is why I'll be handing this book over to my sister, Claudine, who's an oncology nurse at Seattle Children's Hospital. She has more strength and courage than I believe I ever could, to do what she does - and I'm glad for amazing individuals like her, who contribute everything to helping those affected by cancer.
As some of you already know, my mom was diagnosed with late stage hepatocellular carcinoma - that's a fancy way of saying liver cancer - in June of 2006. I was on a business trip to Miami when she called to tell me. And my life forever changed 3,000 miles away from home, and over the duration of a five minute phone call.
The prognoses wasn't good. 4-6 months was what they were giving her - and that was if she underwent a series of invasive treatments and surgeries. But my Mom had other plans. And with a healthy dose of mind over matter - she steered clear of all Western medicine and treatments. She didn't touch an ounce of chemo, nor did she ever undergo a single moment of radiation. And she showed her doctors - not to mention everyone else around her - who was in charge.
Eventually the disease took it's toll on my Mom's body, but it never took her spirit.
I lost my Mom on May 4th, 2010. Three days after my 34th birthday and one month after she'd turned 70. But 4 years after she was originally diagnosed...even when they said it wouldn't be possible. Which to me means, anything is possible.
I don't have too many photographs of my mom and I from when I was little, but because of the overwhelming response to my Dear Teen Me post and video - and how much I enjoyed putting it together - what pictures I do have, turned into this amazing montage. All images are in chronological order (or close to) and are from my Mom's time as a model, some with my Dad, and many with all of us kids in various stages of our lives.
Here's to you, Mom.
Me ka Aloha. A hui hou kakou.
In honor of Regine, her courageous journey, my Mom, and everyone else out there affected by cancer, I'm giving away one fabulous Zest Books prize pack, which contains: A hardback copy of Regine's Book: A Teen Girl's Last Words, a bookmark, and a Zest Books literacy poster (see the attached image over there for details!) for the winner.
To enter, please fill out the below Rafflecopter form and adhere to all giveaway rules:
Just a quick follow up to announce the winner of the DEAR TEEN ME prize pack!
And the lucky winner is:
Congratulations, Becky (Becky and I have already exchanged info via email - thanks, Becky!) - and thanks so much to everyone who stopped by and entered the contest...and more importantly, contributed to this amazing project!!!
What's that you might ask? Well, when you're 12, you're gonna find out that's your 7th grade locker combination. And you'll memorize that sucker forwards, backwards, and upside down. After all, there's NO way you're going to be that "Sevie" who doesn't remember her locker combo.
At age 14, you're going to kiss a boy named Matt J. A boy you've known since you were 2 - and yes, I mean really kiss. And it's not so bad. But a word of advice if I may: He has braces. Please make him brush his teeth after eating that pizza! Nuff said.
By the end of your sophomore year in high school - just after you turn 16 - you'll fall in love for the first time with a boy named Matt O. (I know, you apparently have a thing for boy's named Matt). You'll date for awhile, break up, then crush over him for the remainder of high school - that picture there to the right? Yeah, that's at the Senior Tolo dance with him. And even though you'll date again after college - you won't marry him. But, you will find a friend in him for life.
However...maybe you should get to know Neal C. a little bit more. Sure he's super shy. And in the 7th grade, you'll tossel his hair and give him static for wearing his polo shirt buttoned all the way to the top (I mean, who does that?). For which he'll still remember a year later and write "snob" in blue permanent marker over your 8th grade year book picture (yep, that's the picture right there).
But trust me on this and give that boy a chance - I promise in twenty years, you'll laugh about the year book with him. And yes, he stopped wearing his polo shirts that way. Because of you.
And speaking of year book disasters. During your junior year in high school when you're 17, you'll be photographed in your swim suit. Just before you're about to perform a back 1.5 pike dive at your swim meet.
It will end up in the annual.
Spanning an entire page.
But believe me, you look COMPLETELY FINE. Because when you're the age you are in 2012 (hey, no wise cracks, it's not as far away as you think!), YOU'RE GONNA WISH YOU STILL LOOKED LIKE THAT NOW.
Those - along with six gazillion other memories from my teenage years - are still stuck in my head like it was all just yesterday. And if I could write a letter to my teenage self now, all of the above (plus so much more) would be included in that letter.
That's the premise behind the recently released book Dear Teen Me published by Zest Books.
Here's the Goodreads summary:
Dear Teen Me includes advice from over 70 YA authors (including Lauren Oliver, Ellen Hopkins, and Nancy Holder, to name a few) to their teenage selves. The letters cover a wide range of topics, including physical abuse, body issues, bullying, friendship, love, and enough insecurities to fill an auditorium. So pick a page, and find out which of your favorite authors had a really bad first kiss? Who found true love at 18? Who wishes he’d had more fun in high school instead of studying so hard? Some authors write diary entries, some write letters, and a few graphic novelists turn their stories into visual art. And whether you hang out with the theater kids, the band geeks, the bad boys, the loners, the class presidents, the delinquents, the jocks, or the nerds, you’ll find friends--and a lot of familiar faces--in the course of Dear Teen Me.
To celebrate the release of such a wonderful book, several of us were asked to participate in the Dear Teen Me blog tour hosted by Zest Books. And I'm lucky to be wrapping up the tour with my post here today - but believe me, there have been so many other fabulous posts throughout the tour! So please head on over to these sites to check them out: Zest Books and Dear Teen Me.
Because that's where I found the amazing post and video by Ginger over at GReads! - where she asked her friends: If you had the chance, what would you say to your teen self - in only six words?
Which inspired me to put together a video of my own, where I asked several of my MG / YA writer friends the very same question. The following is a compilation of the responses I received: