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Reviewed by Deborah Lloyd for Readers' Favorite
Sammy, born the day before Easter in 1985, lived with his mother and brother Gene in a small town in Kansas. He lived the normal life of a little boy – riding his big wheels, playing with trucks, and running in the backyard. He loved the homegrown vegetables from his mother’s and Slim’s gardens. Slim was the man who lived next door and was like a member of the family. Then cancer arrived, changing their lives forever. Sammy shares the ups and downs of painful, scary treatments. He and his mother spent week after week in the children’s oncology unit at the hospital, several hours from home. Sammy was observant and knew when his mother had been praying or crying. He also became aware of Jesus’ presence and His help during difficult times. In the memoir, Sammy: Hero At Age 5, written by his mother and brother, M. Schmidt and G. D. Donley, the sad journey peppered with many joyful moments is shared.
One of the most intriguing aspects of this true-life story is that it is told from Sammy’s point of view. While written in the language of a five-year-old boy, the messages within his words are truly profound. The thoughts fit a little boy’s world – excitement in eating a popsicle; hoping his mother will marry again, and he will have a new father; a wish to go to Disney World. The writing is clear and concise, and the photographs add to the realistic nature of the story. M. Schmidt and G. D. Donley shared their story to help other children and families facing these kinds of diagnoses in this memoir. This is a touching and unforgettable book!