(St. Louis Park, Minn.) – “See a need, fill a need,” is a phrase that became quite popular after the 2005 release of the Disney movie, “Robots,” in which an aspiring young inventor named Rodney discovers how he can make the world a better place. The movie may not have been her inspiration, but filling an important need in this world is exactly what St. Louis Park, Minn.-resident Aurora Whittet has done.
After a friend from high school was diagnosed with brain cancer, and complained about being unable to find a book she could use to explain what was happening to her kids, Whittet decided to step-up and do something about it.
She wrote the book, Mama’s Knight: A Cancer Story of Love, which is a customizable journal moms can use to explain their cancer journey to their kids. A Kickstarter campaign was launched in early July to help bring Mama’s Knight to market. The incentives being offered to contributors range from a name listing on the book’s website for pledges of $5 or more to having 20 books donated directly to families. A business sponsorship opportunity is also available in exchange for a pledge of $600 or more.
The book, which can be personalized for each child and family, introduces conversations about symptoms and treatment plans. It also helps families navigate the difficult discussions around the emotional journey and gives activities for moms to engage with their kids.
“I designed the book to be for moms with any kind of cancer,” said Whittet, and it turned out to be exactly what her friend, Tyson Cluever, who lives in Benson, Minn., a small town southwest of St. Cloud, Minn., needed.
When Cluever was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2015, her boys, Kael and Leif, were just 5-and-a-half years old and 9-months old. “At the time of diagnosis, I was just so overwhelmed. I didn’t know how to explain what was happening to my kids. I told that to Aurora, who has been a friend for a long time, and a short time later she emailed me with the idea for a book. I told her I thought that was the best idea ever,” said Cluever.
As the child of a cancer sufferer herself, Whittet was very pleased with the feedback. She lost her mother to uterine cancer back in 2013. In her mother’s memory, and with Cluever’s help as a consultant, Whittet completed work on the manuscript and connected with Wise Ink Creative Publishing in Minneapolis to bring the book to market.
The reviews coming in for Mama’s Knight have been very favorable. Dr. David Quale, a pediatrician with the Wayzata Children’s Clinic in Minnesota said, “A cancer diagnosis affects the entire family, and discussing it with young children can be difficult in so many ways. Mama's Knight is a delightful, interactive story that will help parents approach this difficult journey in a way that protects their child's emotional health and strengthens their bond along the way."
Licensed marriage and family therapist Michelle Craver said, "As a counselor, I so appreciate the communication tools Mama's Knight provides families. To be able to communicate with one another about the complicated emotions that go along with cancer will be a blessing to so many. I also loved the superhero helper cards, as they will build an amazing and needed spirit of support within the family."
Amber Langford-Brown, who has multiple myeloma, said, “Mama's Knight brought tears to my eyes and made my two little boys feel like heroes and be brave!"
Laurie Wetzel, who is fighting thyroid cancer, said, “Aurora Whittet managed the impossible in Mama’s Knight, allowing us to have those tough discussions with our young children in a way that not only wasn’t scary, but could make it fun too. This book is a blessing and I hope it finds its way to all the Mommas bravely fighting for their knights.”
For more information, or to contribute, go to www.kickstarter.com/projects/bloodmark/mamas-knight-a-cancer-story-of-love. If the campaign is successful, the anticipated book release date is Oct. 1, 2016.
About Aurora Whittet
Aurora Whittet started out as a wild red-haired girl in Minnesota dreaming up stories for her friends to read. Mama’s Knight: A Cancer Story of Love is just the latest in a string of acclaimed works. Her first official writing endeavor became The Bloodmark Saga, featuring a werewolf princess-turned-ruler who falls in love with a human boy. Her first novel in the Bloodmark Saga, Bloodmark, came out in 2013, followed by Bloodrealms in 2014 and the final book Bloodmoon in 2016.