|Books, videos to be given to kids getting chemotherapy during holiday
Originally posted December 24, 2002
ANN ARBOR, MI - Children battling cancer
at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center
will get a little holiday cheer next week from a very special
source: a best-selling children's author who was also treated
for cancer at the U-M, and the cancer team that treated him.
During the week of Dec. 23, more than 60 children
who have to interrupt their holiday celebrations for chemotherapy
sessions at the U-M CCC will receive copies of the number
one children's picture book on the New York Times
Dec. 15 bestseller list, "Stranger in the Woods,"
its accompanying video and CD, and stuffed animals.
The gifts are being made possible by the U-M
skin cancer team, led by Timothy
Johnson, M.D. The team has successfully treated "Stranger"
co-author and wildlife photographer Carl Sams for cancer for
nearly a decade.
"Carl had told me he had written this book,
but I didn't know how big a hit it was until my daughter read
it at school and raved about it, and I saw it on the bestseller
list," says Johnson. "The team and I felt it would
make a great holiday present for kids who are going through
Johnson and the 25 doctors, nurses and others
who care for U-M skin cancer patients in the Cutaneous
Oncology Program will bring the presents to the pediatric
chemotherapy area of the U-M CCC on Dec. 23.
Sams credits the U-M skin cancer team with saving
his life, and that of a close family member, by catching and
removing several skin cancer lesions. "I want to do this,"
he says of his at-cost donation to the holiday gift effort.
"They've caught everything I've had very early, and I'm
Sams and his wife, Jean Stoick, photographed
and wrote "Stranger" in 1999 as a way to show children
the magic of nature in winter. It's a heartwarming story of
the reaction of woodland animals to a snowman that appears
after a winter storm.
After it was first released in Michigan and
Ohio, the authors donated thousands of dollars in proceeds
to children's charities. But its national release launched
it into the stratosphere of children's holiday books, and
it has sold 800,000 copies to date. "Stranger" has
appeared on the New York Times list twice before, in December
2001 and 2000, but never reached the top until now. It is
listed at number two for the Dec. 22 list. It's also being
used extensively in elementary schools to teach about nature.
A video to accompany the book was released recently,
along with its soundtrack. Both were made by Robert and Laura
Sams, Carl Sams' cousins.
Together, the book, movie and soundtrack have earned 19 awards,
including the 2002 Early Childhood News Awards, the 2001 International
Reading Association Award and the Ben Franklin Award. The
movie was recently one of four finalists in the 2002 Wildscreen
Panda Awards in Britain.
Note to editors: To cover this event, please
call U-M Health System Public Relations, 734-764-2220.
Written by: Kara Gavin
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