In March, I was invited to participate in a fundraiser for the Yuen Lui Guild for Seattle Children’s Hospital by reading to some patients and giving them copies of my books. It was such a great experience, but emotional, too, of course.
The highlight of the day was meeting Heather, a little sparkplug with a million dollar smile and an impish sense of humor. I read her the Two Bobbies and then she said, “Do you want me to read you my book?” I certainly did!
If there had been room to roll around on her hospital room floor, I would have been down there, rolling with laughter, as she shared her story of life from a dog’s point of view. The illustrations were just as charming as the story. Yes, she was a cute little kid which is reason enough to like whatever she’d created. But this story was good. Really good! I connected with her mom after the visit and encouraged them to get the book published and, with some helpful advice from generous writer friends like Martha Brockenbrough and Kjersten Hayes, they found a site to turn Heather’s story and art into a picture book. When the book was finished, Heather’s mom emailed me the details and I emailed back, asking if I could post that information on my blog. I didn’t hear back from her for quite awhile, not until Friday.
I could hardly stand to read the email. That darling little girl had passed away. I know it sounds cliche, but Heather was special. She had a sparkle and joyful spirit about her that was contagious. And I know she would’ve been an amazing writer. . .or whatever else she chose to do with her life.
Heather’s mom did give me permission to share about Heather’s book. I can highly recommend it! If you would like to make a donation of $50.00 or more to the Heather Schlindwein Leukemia fund, PO Box 8426, Lacey, WA 98509, her family will send you a copy of “A Dog’s Point of View,” which also includes seven poems written by Heather and a CD of her reading her work.
I can’t wait to get my copy.
Oh, such a sad story! I’m glad that Heather got a chance to share her story before she left this world.
You were a gift to this girl.
What a wonderful thing You did to make her last days special. I know you must still be reeling from the shock, tough. You have (and her family has) my deepest sympathy.
This breaks my heart, Kirby. How beautiful though that you helped her get her words and pictures beyond a drawer.