Heather Summerhayes Cariou
Heather Summerhayes Cariou made a
promise to her sister, Pam, 20 years ago.
In 2006, she fulfilled that promise.
Heather Summerhayes Cariou made a promise to her sister, Pam, 20 years ago. In 2006, she fulfilled that promise and published a memoir about her sister’s life and courageous battle with cystic fibrosis, Sixty-five Roses: A Sister’s Memoir.
Published in Canada by McArthur & Company, Sixty-five Roses has been newly released in the United States and a portion of its sales will benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, as well as the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
In her book, Heather recounts that in 1957, when Pam was diagnosed, the medical community knew little about CF. Her parents were told that there was no viable treatment and no cure for the disease.
Determined to fight for their child’s life, Doug and Donna Summerhayes, from the small Canadian town of Brantford, Ontario, met with other concerned parents and founded the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
From that time on, Heather, like her parents, became a spokesperson on behalf of people with CF. In writing Sixty-five Roses, she continues to speak out on behalf of the CF community.
“I wanted to honor my promise to Pam,” Cariou says. “ but I also wanted to acknowledge and comfort families who had to live with CF or any other kind of chronic childhood illness.”
Since the book was first published in Canada, she has received many e-mails from families with CF and other diseases, thanking her for articulating their own feelings.
Despite the enormous struggle of life with CF, Pam remained staunchly optimistic. “I enjoyed most every moment of my life, whether it was up or down,” she said. “There was always something in the world that was beautiful that you could take from, and every experience could mean something if you looked at it that way.”
Sixty-five Roses is a tribute to Pam’s indomitable spirit. Heather says, “I really feel like Pam and I are out there together, hand in hand, putting her legacy of courage and hope out there.”
For more information on Sixty-five Roses: A Sister’s Memoir, visit www.sixtyfiverosesthebook.com.
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