Nikki’s Hurricane Adventure by Kevin and Laura Sanchez

Nikki’s Hurricane Adventure is a children’s book enlightening the senses through a cat’s journey back home to his family. The book sales are devoted to helping find a cure for cancer.

Nikki is a cat who was separated from her family in 2008 during an evacuation for Hurricane Gustav.

Her adventures that followed were all in the hope of finding her family and getting back home.

This delightful tale leaves one with a smile all throughout, resulting in a happy ending. You will want to read it again and again.

The story and purpose behind this book has a meaning all in itself. Rather than summarizing it myself, I’ve asked one of the authors, Laura Sanchez, to share her story:

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When Nikki came home, she was skin and bones, her beautiful coat was matted and dirty, and she had no voice. Kevin and I would sit on the porch, brushing and petting her while she regained her strength, and telling her how happy we were that she was home. We tried to imagine what she had been through those four long months and so many miles. We knew she had made it through a hurricane and snowstorm, had crossed roads and rivers, and avoided cars, trucks, dogs, and who knows what other Louisiana wildlife she had encountered. In the spring we would sit on the porch drinking coffee in the morning and watch her playing in the yard, chasing birds and squirrels, back to her playful and loving self (still no voice, and definitely no longer the pampered house cat).

In July Kevin had a “mishap” while we were riding our mini-bikes and had to go to the doctor. During an ultrasound they noticed a shadow on one of his kidneys. He was sent for additional tests and was diagnosed with kidney cancer. We were of course devastated. Kevin’s father had died from cancer at 59, and we knew a couple of people who were currently undergoing chemotherapy and radiation. We knew our lives would be forever changed. As we sat contemplating our future, Nikki came up and jumped in Kevin’s lap as though she knew something was wrong. It was at that moment that I had an idea to write down Nikki’s story. Kevin loved the idea, and it gave us something else to focus on rather than the upcoming surgery and whatever other treatment was forthcoming. We decided that if we ever had our book published, half of whatever we made would be donated to cancer research.

We made it through Kevin’s surgery and recovery, while I was sitting next to him writing page after page of things that might have happened to Nikki in no particular order.  One day when my mom called from North Carolina, my three-year-old niece, Sarah, got on the phone and asked, “Aunt Laura, do you really have a Nikki the Cat?”  We had told my mom and family and friends, when Nikki first came home, some of the stories we had come up with. She told me that every night little Sarah wanted Grandma to tell her a bedtime story, and Nikki was her favorite subject. She would tell her a different adventure every night, and it always had a happy ending with Nikki coming home. We decided that the story would make a good children’s book. I started researching how to write a book and how to get it published. Kevin’s cousin Danny Wiggins (our illustrator) had also overcome a cancer diagnosis and was happy to do the illustrations for a worthy cause.

I sent the text to several publishers, but it was a long process with little encouragement. The following Christmas, my father was diagnosed with an aggressive esophageal cancer. It was the push we needed to pursue our book and its cause again. When we found Author House, they were very encouraging, and we decided to self-publish our book.  Nikki’s Hurricane Adventure was finally completed in February 2011. We are in the process of promoting the book, we have contacted Ochsner Hospital and made clear our intentions that half of the proceeds are going to cancer research. We have sold several copies to family, friends and co-workers, built Nikki’s webpage, introduced the book to our son’s elementary school, and pitched the idea of a school fundraiser. We have sold a few copies to a local bookstore and have sent out close to 1,000 e-mails (still ongoing). We have sent copies of our book to several distributors and are helping with a local fundraiser for a gentleman in our community who has medical bills associated with his cancer treatments. In addition, Kevin’s friend since elementary school was diagnosed with brain cancer in September and died just before Christmas at the age of 46.  He left behind his wife and two young children. We believe in our book, and even more, we would love to be able to contribute toward finding a cure for this devastating disease.

On a good note, Kevin has been cancer-free for 18 months, Danny Wiggins has just passed the five-year cancer-free mark, and my dad is on his second month, although he remains on chemotherapy treatments. ­­­Laura Sanchez

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This is a book that is a delight to have, to hold and to read. The story touches your heart and soul and your are left with a smile. It is a “feel good” book and I can only highly recommend it.

Tina Turbin

www.DannyTheDragon.com

k.m.

Posted in Acts of Kindness, Books, Books-suggested by Tina, Children's Author, Children's Book, Childrens' Literature, Contributions, family
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