This is Penguin Publishing Groups fifth year dedicated to the fight against breast cancer and they will be making a $25,000 donation to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, regardless of sales. And this year's spokesperson for Read Pink, Beatriz Williams, has written an exclusive guest post just for us! Yay! Plus, if you leave a comment on this post, you can be entered to win all 12 books that have been reissued to help raise money for breast cancer research, including A Hundred Summers, by Beatriz Williams. (The full, amazing list is below).
This contest will close on Sunday, October 5th at 10am PST.
Karen White, The Time Between
Nora Roberts, Sea Swept
JoJo Moyes, The Last Letter from Your Lover
Jennifer Chiaverini, Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker
Beatriz Williams, A Hundred Summers
Wendy Wax, While We Were Watching Downton Abbey
Nora Roberts, The Witness
Catherine Anderson, Perfect Timing
Marie Force, I Want to Hold Your Hand
Janet Chapman, Heart of a Hero
Lisa Gardner, MacNamara's Woman
Jane Ann Krentz, Dream Eyes
For more details about the Read Pink initiative and to view a complete list of the participating retail outlets, please visit penguin.com/readpink.
Beatriz Williams' Exclusive Guest Post
On the morning my daughter started kindergarten, I met up with the other mothers in her class for the usual first-day-of-school coffee. One of them was wearing a beautiful Hermès scarf on her head, tied at the nape of her neck, a bit like Grace Kelly taking the air on board an ocean liner. She had spent the summer undergoing treatment for breast cancer.
Until then, I confess, I’d been a little blasé about breast cancer. It was something that happened to other people, wasn’t it? Tragic and untimely, but not personal. But as I watched my friend fight this disease over the next few years—the joyful news of remission, the devastating diagnosis when the malignancy returned—with an almost inhuman dignity and strength, I learned what cancer really meant.
For one thing, life had to go on. Her daughters got up every morning, were fed and went to school, did their homework and their soccer practice. Her husband commuted to his job in New York City. She went to all the school fundraisers, all the picnics and concerts and bingo nights, determined to give her family the most normal life possible, to force away this dark cloud covering the tender years of their childhood. She didn’t want to be the Cancer Mom. She laughed and gave graceful compliments that brightened your entire day. She asked a lot of questions at open house. She joked and chatted outside the classroom, as we waited for the kids to be dismissed. The last time I saw her, she had volunteered for a shift at the book fair. She helped the kids find the books they wanted, and if they didn’t have enough money, she slipped an extra dollar or two in the till and called it even.
When I got the text later in the year, I remember being a little shocked. The final descent had, I think, been steep and sudden. My daughter happened to share a class with hers again that year, and I could only think: Those sweet girls. And they will never have her back, not for weddings or graduations or christenings, not for holidays or vacations or ordinary rainy Saturdays. Not for the first day of school, ever again.
A year and a half later, I took the train into New York City following the fifth grade graduation ceremony, and I ran into the girls’ father on the platform. They were doing well, he said. He had found a wonderful nanny to help out, and last summer he took the girls on a long, wandering camping trip, just the three of them. It was healing, he said. He spent every possible moment with them, involved himself deeply in their lives, carrying on, living. But there was still this hole. A girl was going to start middle school without her mother.
Through organizations like The Breast Cancer Foundation and others, we are making enormous strides in awareness, detection, and treatment of this disease. Today, there are over 2.8 million breast cancer survivors in the United States, and more and more women can face diagnosis with hope instead of despair. But approximately 40,000 women will die of breast cancer this year, and each one leaves behind a hole that can never be filled again: children without a mother, husbands without a wife, parents without a daughter, sisters without a sister. Think of that: forty thousand women. Like me, you probably know and remember one of them.
I am deeply honored to serve as Penguin’s READ PINK spokesperson in 2014, for the sake of all these devastated families left behind, and most especially for my brave and elegant friend Vanessa, who will never be forgotten.