BOOKWORM MUM RAFFLES BEST-SELLERS FOR KIDS WITH CANCER
A young mother who rediscovered her passion for reading thanks to COVID-19, is sharing her love of books to raise money for leading national children's cancer charity, Redkite, and she's inspired a raft of best-selling authors to contribute.
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.
"I cried for two days non-stop after Taiyo's diagnosis. Early during Taiyo's treatment, my husband, Angelo, told me we had to deal with Taiyo's cancer in a different way, that we had to be positive for him and make our situation as happy as it can be."
She gave up her full-time job and full-time passion for reading to look after her little boy.
"During treatment, Taiyo's body wasn't metabolising the chemotherapy. He had a reaction to one of the chemo drugs and we were in hospital over Christmas because he ended up with pancreatitis and liver damage, so we had to watch him closely to make sure that didn't happen again," Cristelle said.
Now that Taiyo is strong enough, the dynamic Melbourne mother has started reading again and is using books to free herself from the confined world of lockdown.
"When I'm 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."
Cristelle said her reading has also helped her mental health during lockdown.
"Now when I'm reading books, I don't argue. I have always loved reading. It's so different to watching Netflix or television. I learn a lot from the books that I read," Cristelle said.
Cristelle is channelling her energy into an online book raffle – and 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.
"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."
Redkite's CEO, Ms Monique Keighery, said Cristelle's book raffle to support children with cancer was another great reason to keep reading during the pandemic.
"As the pandemic continues to impact all our lives, it is important to recognise that thousands of families like Cristelle's are going through this with the added unimaginable stress of their child's cancer. Every year nearly 800 children are diagnosed with cancer, and it was already tough enough for their families to navigate this devastating time.
"Cristelle's hard work to help other families like hers is inspiring. I would encourage anyone who has ever escaped into the pages of a good book to support Cristelle's book raffle. Not only will you be doing something positive for your wellbeing, but you'll also be supporting children with cancer," Ms Keighery said.
Tickets will go on sale in September. Donate here: https://redkite.grassrootz.com/let-s-support-kids-with-cancer/books-for-cancer
About Redkite: Redkite is Australia's leading national children's cancer charity, supporting all families no matter where they live in Australia, at all stages of their child's long and uncertain journey, both in hospital and at home: www.redkite.org.au.
Redkite relies entirely on the generosity of the community and corporate Australia to provide this essential and practical family support and receives zero government funding.