Leah’s legacy: Children’s book “Wings of Courage” tribute to 5-year-old Mott patient who fought cancer
Leah James loved the color purple, Nemo and storybooks. She was also well known for her contagious smile and the phrase “my heart is happy” even when she was fighting cancer at age four.
Nearly 10 years after the Livonia preschooler lost her battle to an inoperable brain tumor, she has inspired a children’s book designed to help other families like hers cope with a cancer diagnosis at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.
“Wings of Courage,” produced by U-M’s Department of Neurosurgery, will be given to all pediatric cancer patients at Mott and also be available May 28 on Amazon with proceeds funding the book’s redistribution at the hospital. The book was created thanks to a $15,000 donation from the Livonia-based foundation created in Leah’s memory, Leah’s Happy Hearts.
“The innocence and honesty of children are only matched by their resilience and ability to thrive even under the most adverse of circumstances,” says Karin Muraszko, M.D., F.A.C.S., chair of the U-M Medical School’s Department of Neurosurgery. “Wings of Courage will help children, parents, family members and caregivers have a meaningful dialogue about how to support a child who is battling a serious illness. It will confirm the amazing optimism within children and inspire hope for tomorrow.”
“Wings of Courage” goes on sale two days before the annual 5K Family Fun Walk in Northville on May 30 benefiting Leah’s Happy Hearts, a non-profit founded by the James family that funds brain cancer research and support for kids with brain cancer. The walk will be held at Maybury State Park in Northville, with registration beginning at 9 a.m.