I never really expanded upon why I chose to give a portion of the proceeds from The Keepers to Susan G. Komen, other than to say my mother passed away because of breast cancer. I decided to share that with you now.
I was nineteen and just starting college when Mom got the diagnosis. I remember it was a trying time, and in order to accept that the strongest person I’d ever met was sick, I had to go through counseling.
The only time during the next five years she wasn’t sick, was the few months surrounding my wedding, two years into her battle. When I came back from my honeymoon we found out the disease had moved into her bones.
Over the period of five years she suffered through eleven rounds of chemo therapy. I watched the disease take a beautiful strong woman and tear her down completely. No one should ever have to suffer what she suffered.
When disease strikes, it seldom only affects the person diagnosed. My mom was a mother, wife, friend, and grandmother, and we all lost a huge part of us when she passed away at the early age of fifty-two.
Susan G. Komen’s charity has raised awareness, so that everyone recognizes the pink ribbon. They provide a support system for victims and their families and remind us that we are not alone in the fight.
I wrote Jess’s character from the mind-set of a daughter who had suffered the same loss as me, and I couldn’t benefit from the book without giving back a part of it for what this charity has accomplished.
I truly believe when God blesses us, we should bless others and I’m grateful for the opportunity.
Monique O’Connor James