Tuesday, February 26, 2013
HARRIET the hedgehog may not have any spikes, but despite being different she still fits in with the other hogs.
This is the essence of a new children’s story written by Victoria Brock, from Pakenham, aunty of twins Megan and Gracie Garwood, seven, from Rougham, who have overcome cancer.
Miss Brock, 35, who is mother to Jacob, three, was inspired to write the tale, Harriet the Hedgehog, when the girls were diagnosed with leukaemia in 2009.
She said she has received lots of positive feedback for the book, with illustrations by family friend Helene Warren, but she is struggling to secure a publisher.
She is appealing for anyone who can help take it forward to get in contact, adding she would like a percentage of sales to go to a cancer charity.
She said: “My children’s book is about a hedgehog who doesn’t have any spikes and is terribly embarrassed about her soft skin and is frightened of how the other hogs will react to her, but once she goes out and starts school she is surprised to see that she is just as normal as all the other hogs and nobody teases or laughs at her.
“I want my book published so I can have it in hospitals, schools and given to people who maybe have alopecia, or anyone who is slightly different, to make them realise that no matter how you look you are normal and deserve to be treated as normal.”
Miss Brock, who has been writing stories since she was young, said when the girls became ill she thought about them starting school with their hair falling out and it gave her the inspiration to write Harriet the Hedgehog.
Megan and Gracie’s mother Emma, who is Miss Brock’s sister, said: “I think from the experience I have had, and I have had it when the girls were poorly - they didn’t really care to be honest – we would be walking through the supermarket and people would be staring.
“Whether it was a sympathetic stare or not, everyone who is slightly different might have put up with that.”
She added: “It’s a lovely book and anything that can help is nice really.”
Megan and Gracie were diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia within a week of each other in September 2009.
The girls, who had to undergo chemotherapy as part of their treatment, were given the all-clear in February last year.
Mrs Garwood, 41, who also has daughter Martha, five, said Megan and Gracie had a check-up a couple of weeks ago and it was “all good”.
She said they were all “very excited” and “counting down the weeks” to a long-awaited family holiday in Disneyland Florida, which people touched by the girls’ plight raised money for.
To get in contact with Miss Brock, who works for a home furnishings company in Hadleigh, email firstname.lastname@example.org