02 July 2010

E-Book for a Good Cause

Word Nerd doesn't often pass on this type of story, but she thought this one was interesting. As e-books become part of the literary culture, author Paul Levine is using the e-book of release of one of his novels in a good way -- to give back.

Rather than Word Nerd summing it all up, Levine explains it himself.

Jake Lassiter and the Four Diamonds Fund, 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. The survival rate for Ewing's sarcoma that metastasises 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.

Twenty years ago this month, my first novel, “To Speak for the Dead,” was published to a decent amount of fanfare. The legal thriller introduced the world to Jake Lassiter, a linebacker-turned-lawyer who seeks justice but seldom finds it. The book facilitated my career change from lawyer to novelist and has always held a special place in my heart. Now, good old Jake can help a cause that's also dear to me.

I will donate all proceeds of “To Speak for the Dead” 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.

In basic terms, the Fund helps sick kids. I don't know a more worthy cause.

I'm hoping that the e-book will sell for years, bringing enjoyment to readers and support to a life-saving cause. Hoping, too, that others will be moved to directly contribute.

Here's a little background about the Fund. In 1972, a 14-year-old boy named Christopher Millard was an aspiring writer. Or rather, he was already a 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.

Penn State students have contributed an astonishing $61 million to the Fund through their annual dance marathon. This year's event raised $7.8 million alone. The motto of “Thon” is “For the kids.” And that, too, is the dedication of “To Speak for the Dead.”

Even if you don't own an e-reader, you can download the book to your laptop or desktop. So, if you'd like a “breathlessly exciting” read (Cleveland Plain Dealer) or a “genuinely chilling” one (Washington Post), please give it a try. For a limited time, the book is only $2.99. Purchase information here:

One last 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.
For more information on the Four Diamonds Fund, click here.

No comments: