“FOR THE KIDS”– WHY AUTHOR DONATES TO CANCER FUND
“Flesh & Bones,” the bestselling Jake Lassiter thriller, is now an e-book. Author Paul Levine explains why he has pledged all royalties to childhood cancer treatment.
By Paul Levine
In the United States today, one in 300 children will be diagnosed with some form of cancer. All of us have friends or family members who have fought that grueling battle. These days, with great advances in medicine, there’s a increasing chance the fight has been successful.
Yet, progress seems excruciatingly slow for those on the front lines.
A few years ago, one of my dearest friends, the godfather of my son, lost his daughter Margaux to Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare but vicious bone cancer. Another friend, a well-known author, has lost both a child and a grandchild to the disease. The survival rate for Ewing’s sarcoma that metastasizes is a disheartening 10 per cent.
Ten per cent!
In this age of medical miracles, how can that be?
After Margaux’s death at age 14, I dedicated a book to her. Such a feeble gesture. I wanted to do more. Still do. Here’s how.
“Flesh & Bones,” the last of the Jake Lassiter novels, was published internationally to wide acclaim in 1997. Out of print for many years, it’s now a 99-cent e-book, with all proceeds going to the Four Diamonds Fund, a charity that pays for treatment of pediatric cancer patients at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital.
In addition to providing world-class medical care, the Fund supports research in immunotherapy, carcinogenesis, and several other fields I can barely spell, much less understand. I can’t imagine a better charity.
This is my second venture into publishing for charity. Last summer, my first novel, “To Speak for the Dead,” was brought out of retirement as an e-book and produced thousands of dollars for the Four Diamonds Fund. That book introduced the world to Jake Lassiter, a linebacker-turned-lawyer who searches for justice but seldom finds it.
Here’s a little background about the Four Diamonds Fund. In 1972, a 14-year-old boy named Christopher Millard was an aspiring writer. He’d penned a mythic tale about “Sir Millard and The Four Diamonds,” in the tradition of Sir Galahad and Sir Lancelot. What are those Four Diamonds? Wisdom. Courage. Honesty. Strength. All are needed in our daily lives, especially in children’s battles with a dread disease.
You have probably figured out that Chris wrote the story while in the throes of cancer. The diamonds of his story were allegorical. The quest was for life itself. After a three-year battle, Chris died, but his memory lives in the name of the Fund established by his family with the straightforward goal of “Conquering Childhood Cancer.”
Penn State students have contributed an astonishing $78 million to the Fund through their annual dance marathon, which goes by the slogan: “For the Kids.” This year’s event raised more than $9 million alone.
One more thing. If each of us can contribute – just a bit – of courage, wisdom, honesty, and strength, maybe we can reach the goal of conquering childhood cancer.
“Flesh & Bones” deals with the very real issue of “recovered memories.” In the opening scene, fashion model Chrissy Bernhardt shoots her wealthy father. She claims to have recently recovered repressed memories of having been sexually abused by him as a child. Hired to defend her, Jake Lassiter begins to doubt his client, even as he falls for her.
“Another breathless thriller,” remarked the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “Filled with smart writing and smart remarks,” proclaimed the Dallas Morning News.
“Flesh & Bones,” priced at 99 cents for a short time, is available on Kindle, Nook, and at Smashwords. More information at Paul Levine’s Website.