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News & media

Books for Cancer: Bookworm mum raffles off best-sellers for kids with cancer

A young mother who has rediscovered her passion for reading thanks to COVID-19, is sharing her love of books to raise money for Redkite, and she’s inspired a raft of best-selling authors to help her.

Self-described bookworm, Cristelle David had to put her books down when her son, Taiyo was born; there was little time for reading.

When he was diagnosed aged two with lymphoblastic lymphoma in mid-2019, reading became impossible. She gave up her full-time job and full-time passion for books to look after her son.

“I cried for two days non-stop after Taiyo’s diagnosis. During treatment, Taiyo’s body wasn’t metabolising the chemotherapy. He had a reaction to one of his chemo drugs and we were in hospital over Christmas because he ended up with pancreatitis (an inflammation of the pancreas) and liver damage. We had to watch him closely to make sure that didn’t happen again.”

Now that Taiyo is strong enough, Cristelle has started reading again and is using books to escape Melbourne’s lockdown. Disappearing into the pages of a good book is her own little daily act of self-care. 

“When I am reading, I’m able to be somewhere else and be someone else. Reading has allowed me to escape lockdown and our cancer journey. I’ve been able to travel outside our apartment through books. I’ve always loved reading it’s so different from television. Now when I’m reading books, I don’t argue and I learn a lot from the books that I read.”

Now she wants to help other families. Inspired by the creativity of her book-loving community, she has convinced well-known authors including former Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Trent Dalton, writer of the number one bestseller, Boy Swallows Universe, and Jane Harper, author of The Dry, to donate signed copies of their books for her raffle in support of Redkite.

“From the very beginning, Redkite was always present. They provided financial support when our savings were dwindling and emotional support through counselling. Redkite made sure we had food on the table and petrol in the car to get to our appointments.”

Missed out on raffle tickets? You can support Cristelle with a donation to her fundraising page.

If you’d like to follow Cristelle’s journey you can find her on Instagram @booksforcancer

Your local library might not have any books on childhood cancer… but we do! We’ve got more than 80 books about all kinds of aspects of the cancer experience including strong emotions, communication challenges, and treatment that you can borrow for free. 
Find out more about Book club

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