September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and San Antonio mom blogger Heather Maloy is donating a portion of the proceeds from the sale of her book, I Hate Piñatas, to a pediatric cancer charity for the entire month of September in honor of her cousin’s little girl, Lennon, who died at six weeks of age due to AML, a form of leukemia.
My book is actually about having a child with a heart defect and the struggles involved in coping with many heart surgeries in his early life. However, so many pediatric diseases are severely underfunded and I’d like to do my part and take this opportunity to raise awareness for childhood diseases.”
– Heather Maloy
Be sure to enter below for your chance to win a copy of Heather’s book, I Hate Piñatas, and a $25 Amazon gift card.
I’ve long admired Heather Maloy from afar (we’ve never met in person but we both belong to a local, online bloggers’ group). She works full-time as a court reporter here in San Antonio, she’s raising three boys, and she’s the blogger behind CrazyHeartMama.com. But it was while reading her book, I Hate Piñatas, that I developed mad respect for Heather.
Her book chronicles the first three years of her son, Colman’s, life and the challenges she and her family faced after he was diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome while he was still in the womb.
While the serious nature of pediatric heart defects can’t be underestimated, I have to admit: I’ve lost track of how many times I spit my coffee clear out of my mouth or cackled wildly, even in public, while reading Heather’s frank, no-holds-barred account of navigating her son’s three surgeries in three years. She’s a mama who doesn’t take sh*t from anyone, not doctors or nurses, her less-than-sensitive mother-in-law, or even her husband.
Also impressive? Heather’s ability to communicate, with ease, the complex nature of her son’s diagnosis and surgeries to a non-medical audience. While reading her book I found myself caught up in her captivating story but I never felt lost in the medical terminology or complicated procedures. And yet, when I finished her book, I had a competent understanding and the complete picture of what hypoplastic left heart syndrome is and the almost unimaginable challenges faced by those born with it.
As soon as I put her book down I wanted to talk to Heather about it. She graciously answered my questions in the same refreshingly direct manner in which she wrote her book:
How do you balance the honesty in your writing with the relationships in your life?
In writing this book, I wanted to give an honest portrayal of what I went through and what that looked like for my family, so I included everything, the good, the bad and the ugly. I think readers know when an author is holding back, and I didn’t want that to be the case. As far as my relationships, not much has changed. The people who were kind and loving during this ordeal remain loving and kind. And the people who were insensitive remain so. I love the quote by Anne Lamott, “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”
What’s the single biggest piece of advice you’d like to give to moms/parents dealing with the ongoing challenges of raising a child with a pediatric disease?
My single piece of advice is to just take it day by day. You can’t control what’s going to happen, so don’t waste the moment you have worrying about what the future may hold. Grab on and hold on tight because it’s going to be a wild ride
What do you wish others understood about families facing the challenges of pediatric diseases?
Unless you’ve lived it, it’s hard to understand what it’s like to have a child who is battling a lifelong illness. And that’s fine. I don’t want additional members in this club, although thousands of families receive devastating diagnoses every day. We need to bring awareness to childhood illnesses, whether it be congenital heart defects, cancer, epilepsy or juvenile diabetes. Children shouldn’t have to be sick. They deserve more awareness and more funding for pediatric diseases, and I think we all have a duty to use our gifts as we see fit to help bring about that awareness.
Do you plan to write a follow up book about Colman and what it’s like as a parent raising an older child with a heart defect?
I’m currently in the process of writing. I’m not sure what that will look like yet, but I’d like to write a follow-up on parenting an older child with congenital heart defects.
Enter below for your chance to win a copy of Heather’s book, I Hate Piñatas, and a $25 Amazon gift card.
For more about childhood cancer and how you can help families diagnosed with it, visit the American Childhood Cancer Organization.
You can find I Hate Piñatas on Amazon.
And, to follow Heather and Colman’s story, visit her blog, Crazy Heart Mama.
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