Local author raising money to help kids cope with cancer

A local woman turns her journey with cancer into a way to help children get through this scary diagnosis. Cancer survivor Gaylon Hayden from Paducah is releasing a book next month that helps children cope with cancer.

“When someone finds out that you have cancer and you tell them, ‘Oh, I have just been diagnosed with cancer,’ their first response is ‘Oh my’ and you can see it in their faces,” Hayden said.

It’s a reaction Hayden has experienced and wants children to understand.

“I want them meaning, the children at St Jude to know that they can go through those same experiences and that they can come out alive. That cancer is not always a death sentence. There is life after cancer,” Hayden said.

Hayden was diagnosed with breast cancer on Christmas Eve.

“When Christmas would roll around I would get depressed,” Hayden said.

That was seven years ago. The holidays don’t make her upset anymore, because she’s made it through.

“Last year, I decided it was time to give back to those that had given me so much inspiration and motivation,” Hayden said.

She’s written the book, ‘It’s Christmas Again‘ for the children at St. Jude. Illustrated by local artist and teacher Roy Smith – the book- targeted for kids in grades k through 6th – takes them through the steps of cancer through the eyes of a little girl.

“She’s going through surgery, she’s going through treatment, she gets sick from the treatment, but she makes it through,” Hayden said.

St Jude in Memphis wants to give that book to every family, but there are about 7800 of them that come through St. Jude’s doors every year at this location.

“I can’t do that by myself,” Hayden said,

So, she’s started the nonprofit ‘Book For Hope’ to raise money in order to be able to hopefully send those books, and help families overcome cancer, like she did.

“I hope that it will help children have hope, because without hope you don’t have anything,” Hayden said.

The book’s release date is July 7th. It will be available on Amazon and Barnes & Nobles as well as other outlets. It’s already available for purchase from the publisher here.

To help Hayden get books to children at St. Jude you can make a tax deductible donation to any Paducah Bank location.

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