Three years ago, when Ali Gordon was just 15, her life was suddenly turned upside down when her father Gregg was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). Looking back on the experience, Ali remembers every moment as if it were yesterday: her fears, her lack of understanding the disease, and the emotional challenges she experienced along the way. Wanting to support other children and families dealing with leukemia, Ali has written Ali’s Alphabet Adventure… L is for Leukemia.
Using each letter of the alphabet, the new book provides valuable information about the physical, medical and emotional aspects of the disease in an honest, helpful and personal way from the teen daughter of a leukemia patient.
Ali explains, “Once my dad was in recovery, I knew I wanted to somehow support other kids and families dealing with leukemia while also raising money for cancer research. When we were going through our very long journey battling the disease, there were few tools out there that provided positive yet honest information that my younger sister and I could relate to. That’s what led me to come up with the idea of the book. The concept of using the alphabet is a simple way to consolidate all the information we gathered that could be helpful to others going through the same thing. The book shares my personal and emotional experiences as well as factual, medical information.”
After months of treatment at home in New York, and an extensive search for a bone marrow donor, which turned up unsuccessful, the Gordon’s were faced with having to explore other methods of treatment for the disease. They found their “miracle” across the country in Seattle, WA at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, a world leader in pioneering new procedures to transplant adult patients with blood stem cells from umbilical cord blood rather than from bone marrow.
Cord blood cells are less developed than bone marrow, and matched to patients on fewer characteristics, allowing for a transplant that does not require a near identical genetic match.
Ali hopes to make a difference by bringing awareness and support to the groundbreaking research that saved her dad’s life, and is doing so by donating 100% of proceeds from the sale of the book to cord blood transplantation research. “I am incredibly lucky that my dad has successfully battled leukemia, but for me, there’s still work to be done. The bone marrow registry has 20 million donors worldwide, but cord blood only has 500,000.”
Dr. Colleen Delaney of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center says, “Cord blood really is the ultimate recycled product. You can give life to a child and by reusing what is normally thrown away, save the life of someone else.”
As Ali prepares to start her senior year in high school, she has only one thing on her mind, “I am so thankful that my days have returned to normal, but I will never forget the many people who worked tirelessly to save my father’s life, and the thousands of families currently fighting leukemia.”
Ali’s Alphabet Adventure… L is for Leukemia has been reviewed and endorsed by two oncologists and a child psychologist as well as supported by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center.
The book, whose dedication from Ali reads, “to my father for teaching me what it means to be the ultimate fighter”, is $45 and can be ordered here.