Are unique occurrences in life that stop and give you pause mere coincidences? Or, are they really perfectly timed miracles from God?
Charming, rambunctious, perfectly healthy, Quentin Murray had had only had one ear infection and three stitches to his right pinky finger following a tussle with a barstool. That was the extent of his medical history. Then, the summer of 2007 hits and brings a mysterious and recurrent swollen eye and various aches and pains across the body. By the end of the summer, Quentin wants to partake of neither of the things he had been looking forward to all year – summer camp and being the ringer bearer in his uncle’s wedding because his “legs hurt too much to walk.”
Though many dismiss Quentin’s mystifying ailments to a head start on sibling rivalry, deep down inside, his mother Mary Webb recognizes the truth and severity of the matter. Her child is sick, or else, he wouldn’t be so adamant about it. And, she devotes all her energy to getting to the source of the pain. A leukemia diagnosis threatens to break the family until they are approached about a clinical trial involving collecting and storing the placental blood of Quentin’s unborn baby sister. What happens next slashes Quentin’s 5-7 year chemotherapy protocol to a fraction of that time. Based on what occurred with Quentin’s treatment, he’s being tagged as the boy who launched a thousand cures, as Celgene, the company that banked Jory’s cord and placenta blood and holds the exclusive rights to this technology, are using what they saw happen for him with stroke, Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis patients. That is just the beginning.
The Summer of Superheroes and the Making of Iron Boy is intended largely for three audiences – parents who have children facing a similar plight as our family; parents who are considering cord blood and placenta blood collection and banking; and children’s hospital stem transplant coordinators. But really, I believe it’s a story that could be marketed toward anyone seeking hope and encouragement. Parents of children who are suffering from a potentially life-threatening disease, especially a blood disorder, want this book because it will offer them a glimmer of hope and the realization that cancer does not have to be a death sentence. Parents who are considering cord and placenta blood collection and banking will want to know about a tried-and-true, tangible case study, especially considering the cost associated with this practice. Children’s hospitals will benefit from having their blood disorder patients learn about this remarkable occurrence. Additionally, it will take some of the guess work out of bone marrow transplants for people who are considering becoming a donor.
Basically, readers will take note of all the well-placed miracles that occurred during Quentin’s sickness. The book will offer them hope and encouragement in the midst of their own tribulation.
The uniqueness of the book is that the subject is the world’s first-ever cord AND placental blood transplant recipient. Also, it’s told from a first-person point of view, so it gives a personalized account of this medical breakthrough. Finally, it’s such an amazing story of well-timed blessings. Ours doctors said to have a sibling already on the way be a match, much less the perfect match she was, is the equivalent of winning the lottery. Further, it’s very rare for a match like that to be made from boy to girl or vice versa.
Simply, the rarity of our miracle is what would attract readers.
MARY WEBB is a former newspaper reporter turned high school English teacher. She is a proud native New Orleanian.
She has written for The San Antonio Express-News, The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune, The (Monroe, LA) News-Star, The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal, The Associated Press’ Denver Bureau, The (Houma, LA) Courier, and The Denton Record-Chronicle. Currently, she works as a English interventionist at Lafayette Academy Charter Schooll in New Orleans. Previously, she also taught English in Iberia and St. Mary parishes, as well as in Dallas, TX. She resides in New Orleans with her two children, Quentin and Jory, the subjects of The Summer of Superheroes and the Making of Iron Boy. This is her first published novel.
She blogs routinely about the crazy antics of her kids at ironmommy.webs.com.
Mary is a graduate of Xavier University of Louisiana where she received a bachelor of arts in Mass Communication with a concentration in print journalism.
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