After a life-changing conversation with a 6-year-old battling stage 3 brain cancer, then 14-year-old Sammie Hasen was inspired to write a children's book. The message she took away from that conversation is one she wants to share with everyone. The boy was not sad as a result of his medical hardship, but instead, he chose to be positive and happy. It is Hasen's hope that her new book "Long Live the Little Ones" out this month, will change how society views children with illnesses.
With this book, Hasen aspires to be a vessel in helping ill children to be treated as normal kids with similar interests in subjects such as sports, toys, junk food, music, and movies. In Hasen's words, "these kids are stronger than average kids and have dreams." While the boy quickly became her hero and inspiration that night, she did not get his contact information and has not seen him since.
Hasen, now 19, is a sophomore at Georgia Institute of Technology majoring in biomedical engineering. Her ultimate purpose for writing the book is to create a new perspective through the eyes of children facing critical illnesses such as autoimmune diseases, cystic fibrosis, heart transplants, and pediatric cancer. "Long Live the Little Ones" chronicles the dreams of 15 kids currently battling illnesses, and five survivors who have followed their dreams.
All proceeds from the book will benefit three local charities, including Enduring Hearts, Juvenile Arthritis Foundation, and Lighthouse Family Retreat. As of now, the book is only available to order online HERE for $20.
"I'm so excited to see this project evolve and come to fruition," said Hasen. "The courageous and insightful boy I met that night showed me no matter how much I think I am suffering, there is always a bright side. In talking with him, I learned that it is up to me to see it or not.
Hasen, who is from College Park, is very interested in pursuing a potential career in medicine after college. She has already supported a research team at Emory University about increasing the longevity and sustainability of pediatric heart transplants.