Cheryl’s fifth book, ‘In My Blood’, is a very personal memoir about what happens to caring-families when the primary carer is faced with a life-threatening illness; it is also about perseverance, resilience, or what some might call bloody-stubborn-mindedness! and, of course, familial love. All qualities that are the definition of Carers!
To hear some radio interviews from Cheryl click on the following links:
ABC Classic FM: http://www.abc.net.au/classic
2GB Alan Jones: 2gb.com/audioplayer
Or to read a major newspaper article visit:
Sydney Morning Herald: two-boys-from-wartorn-romania-reunited-in-sydney-25-years-later
‘Paper Cranes’ is two journeys in one story: the incredible journey of Jonathan’s fight back to be the best he possibly can, and the emotional journey that I share as his mother – at first grieving for the talented son I lost, and then reaching a place of understanding and accepting him for all that he is now.
It is only through writing our ‘combined journeys’ that I came to the realisation of how important it is to validate and accept an individual for who they are and whatever contribution they make to society. Hopefully this philosophy will be imparted onto the reader.
Naturally, anyone who has suffered an accident or brain injury of any kind will find the book invaluable in offering hope at the end of the tunnel, however it is also sure to uplift and motivate anyone seeking inspiration in any walk of life, as it demonstrates the power of family love, the compassion of friends and the kindness of strangers.
‘The Courage to Care’ is the sequel to Cheryl’s first booklet of personal journeys from people recovering from traumatic brain injury.
It is of similar design and concept, containing personal stories, artwork and poetry; however the stories in this booklet are about the extraordinary and inspiring lives of carers – the people who care for those with a traumatic brain injury.
These very personal stories will benefit other carers, help them realise they are not alone, and give voice to the multitude of issues carers face on a day-to-day basis.
Cheryl has retold carers’ experiences openly and honestly in the hope that in so doing, others will have a better insight into the sometimes stressful, often difficult, yet always uniquely rewarding lives of carers.
Cheryl collaborated with 13 very different individuals to produce this compilation of poems, artworks and narrations.
The booklet taps into the rich resource of strategies, anecdotes, stories, and techniques that individuals with a brain injury have adapted to enable them to still live their lives in a positive way.
This topic has rarely been written about from this perspective and its inspiring content will be of great benefit to anyone with an interest in brain injury.
Here are some of the testimonials Cheryl has received from people after reading ‘Paper Cranes’:
“Your book has given me new hope and courage to move forward rather than get lost in despair. I found the information you described in your book about school particularly helpful. I find it hard to describe the problems J….. faces in the school environment and your letter on page 144 gave me some really helpful ideas of how to communicate a brain injury better.”
“Your dedication to Jon and your family is the most influencing part of the book, and as Robert said to you when he won the Community Father award, “that must make you mother of the universe”.
Thank you so much for being who you are and for supporting Jon into becoming a hard working, dedicated young man. I immediately told my youngest son I love him when I read your book and it has taught me to not take one moment for granted.”
“I sat on the beach for four hours the first day and read the book almost more than half way and the next day I finished it within an hour or two. Needless to say I cried basically through the entire book. I think I stopped crying at the point you wrote out your letter of your son’s condition and accomplishments prior to his going back to school. That was around page 150 or so. It was a beautiful, heartfelt, inspirational piece of writing. I can honestly say I felt like I was right there with you all.”
“I have just this minute, at 4am this morning, unable to sleep, finished reading your book ‘Paper Cranes’. I picked up this book in a desperate effort to find some comfort, advice and encouragement for myself and my family.
It has been six months this Saturday since I received the devastating phone call that changed our lives forever and especially the life of my only precious daughter.
I don’t really know what to say to you, except that your book and the strength and determination you described to keep going is truly amazing and inspirational!!”
“I would like to tell Jonathan that in many ways he is privileged. He got to see his strength and the power of his determination. So many people in this world living their whole lives in misery because they don’t have the strength to fight. Wish him all the best in life!’
“Just to let you know that I have just finished Paper Cranes – it is a truly compelling read and beautifully written. My husband was involved in a farming accident 4 1/2 years ago.
God bless you and your family and thank you for sharing your story.”
“I have just completed reading your wonderful book (in two day’s between shifts!!!), and felt compelled to write to you, and thank you for the way your book has helped me within my work. As a emergency nurse it is easy to loose perspective on why you are in your job and the significance of what we do…. as we in the emergency department usually deal with two scenarios when it comes to brain injury.. either the patient dies and in all honesty I have to say I have felt relief for the patient and their family as the “extent of the injury as per CT scan would mean the person would have been left in a persistent vegetative state”, or the patient lives in what I believe will always be a extremely decreased quality of life. I have always struggled when resuscitating this form of injury due to this. when I first became a emergency nurse it was to “save lives” and more recently I have been thinking to myself “at what cost”.
Your book has taught me that I do not know the costs.. and they are not decided there in the emergency department.. there is hope.. and there is still allot to learn about this type of injury. Hopefully next time i am in this particular situation I can draw from what you have taught me.. right out of the text book of life.. and do the most important part of my job.. to give hope in what looks like a hopeless situation… be positive when the families of my patients feel there is nowhere left to draw positivity from.”
“I didn’t plan to buy your book. I hadn’t heard any reviews but randomly picked it up in a bookshop one day hoping to find a good read. As I read the blurb on the inside cover I realised that this would be the type of book I would read in only a few days (2 days actually!). As soon as I started reading (in the book section at Kmart, Castle Hill, no less) I completely understood your determination to be the voice that your son had lost.
To Jonathan, I would like to say how inspiring you are, not just to people with a brain injury, but to anyone who has despaired and thought there was no hope.
To Cheryl and Robert, you give such a gift by telling your story. It is so comforting to see that by having faith in your competency as a parent you were able to make the hard decisions and go against professionals in their field, not blindly, but by having the courage of your convictions. If only every parent could live their life this way.”
“I started reading yesterday (should have been working) and can I please tell you what a fantastic, compelling, heart-wrenching read it is! Am up to page 150, Melbourne – and just want to get my work out of the way so I can curl up and finish it.
I have cried my eyes out, countless times. It was difficult for me to read this as my brother died in a car accident when I was 18 and he was 19. That was 25 years ago and I’m saying this out of respect, because your story stands up for many reasons but I really like that you talk a lot about being lucky that Jonathan survived and are always compassionate towards those families whose child has not. To read about what you and your family went through is an absolute inspiration and an education!”