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Never Give Up: How to Find Hope and Purpose in Adversity by Ruthe Rosen

November 15th, 2011 · No Comments · Children's Charities

Occasionally I’ll be contacted by a publisher who’ll ask me to read a book where proceeds go to a charity. It has been a while, though, since I’ve read a book that’s hit me as personally as Never Give Up by Ruthe Rosen.

Ruthe’s daughter Karla was what most would describe as a typical teenage girl growing up in Southern California. She had blond hair, blue eyes, a gaggle of great friends, was a straight-A student, played on her school’s soccer team, and participated in her school’s competitive dance team. Then one day out of the blue Karla started having terrible headaches. The diagnosis: Karla had brainstem glioma, a tumor located at the base of the skull.

It’s the kind of diagnosis that is devastating for a patient and a family to hear. And yet, what follows is the story of how Karla faces it with faith and strength beyond her years. And how her strength and courage impacted her mom, her family, her friends, and her community.

What I found amazing about Rosen’s writing is how completely honest it is, as only a Mom who went through what she did could write. She goes into every detail of the ups and downs over the next year. She talks straightforwardly about her family and what it was like having both Karla’s biological father and stepfather in the picture. She talks candidly about the typical mother-teenager stuff she and Karla faced at times. She talks about the highs and the lows of the various medical episodes, of how Karla’s friends dealt with her illness, and what I found most inspirational, of how those times that her little girl ended up making her stronger as opposed to the other way around.

As you read the book, you can’t help but be drawn into the events and the emotions that Karla and her mom went through each step of the way. It’s a painful journey, but somehow at the end you’re not filled with sadness or despair. Strangely, you’re filled with appreciation and joy for what Karla was able to do in her short life and how she was able to touch so many lives (including through this book). Throughout the book, Karla and her family are praying for a miracle. By the end of the book, you realize that a miracle did happen, but just not in the way that you originally thought it would.

One of the things that struck me was one part of the book where Ruthe talks about a brief period of time where things “went back to normal”, and how she cherished those times. Never Give Up is a poignant reminder that every moment and every breath that we have on this earth, especially with our loved ones, is a gift from God to be cherished and held on to. It’s an amazing reminder that no matter what troubles we face in this work-a-day world, that it’s not what’s outside of us that matters but what’s inside.

If you’re someone who is tempted to take life for granted or let life get you down, I can’t think of a better book for you to read. You can order it at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or your local bookstore. A portion of proceeds will go directly to the Let It Be Foundation, the organization founded by Rosen that helps the families of children stricken by life-threatening diseases.


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