Hope Conquers - A Campaign to Help Children With Cancer

I read as an escape, as a form of entertainment and as a way to learn. I've never thought about the idea of "reading for good," but I'm happy to introduce a way to do just that. Tammy Blackwell, a Kentucky author, is with us today for a post on her campaign of kindness - Hope Conquers - which aims to help children and families of children diagnosed with cancer.  - Lydia

I have lived in Marshall County, Kentucky, the majority of my life. When you live in a county of 31,000 people, there is no way to know every single person, but after thirty-something years, you feel like you do. You certainly know every member of your graduating class well enough that you feel a profound sense of sadness when one of them has a child be diagnosed with cancer. And when a person you grew up with is forced to bury their child, your heart becomes a raw ache inside your chest.

I was a member of the Marshall County High School Class of 1996. There were 300 of us. Three hundred. Out of that 300 people, four of them have recently had a child diagnosed with cancer. Two of those children died from the disease.

You would think that was enough for one small town, but unfortunately life wouldn’t agree. There are currently three teenagers in Marshall County missing school as they undergo cancer treatment. Three kids who should be worrying about exams, papers, and unrequited love are now worrying about blood levels, treatment options, and whether they will ever truly get to experience life again.

Cancer is cruel; it’s wrong; and it is certainly not fair.

I recently realized I could just sit around and feel sorry for all the families around me struggling, or I could do something to help. My day job is as the Young Adult Services Coordinator for the Marshall County Public Library. Over the years, I’ve seen how books can change a teen’s perception and attitude. I’ve seen books change lives. And so, armed with that knowledge, I came up with the Hope Conquers campaign.

The Hope Conquers campaign is simple: During the month of October, I will be collecting books inscribed with messages of inspiration and encouragement signed by the author. Those books will be donated to the Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, the place most seriously ill kids in Marshall County go to receive care. I’ll also be donating all the profits from the Kindle edition of my novel Destiny Binds
to the Ronald McDonald House, which provides assistance to families with sick children.

I know in the grand scheme of things, Hope Conquers isn’t a lot. I’m going to give some kids some books and donate a little bit of money. So what?

Here’s the thing, though. I think it will make a difference. Actually, I know it will. I know, without a doubt, that every little bit helps. I know that if we work together, if each of us does what we can, our little bits will add up to a big something.

I encourage you to do what you can this month for kids with cancer. If you want to help the Hope Conquers campaign, you can do so by picking up a copy of Destiny Binds in the Kindle Store. (Don’t have a Kindle? No problem! Most app-enabled devices, like computers and smart phones, have a free Kindle app. And Destiny Binds is only 99¢!) Even if you don’t want to buy the book, you can help by
spreading the word about the campaign. Or by making a donation of your own to a charity that supports seriously ill children. Or by dropping a few coins into the collection boxes at McDonald’s. Please, just do something, anything, to get involved. 

Together we can make a difference in the lives of children battling cancer.

Tammy Blackwell works at the Marshall County Public Library in Kentucky and is the author of the popular YA series, the Timber Wolves Trilogy. You can visit her online at www.misstammywrites.com or follow her on Twitter (@Miss_Tammy).