San Antonio girl writes book about mother's cancer fight

Teen shares knowledge, compassion with other kids whose family members are fighting cancer


In 2005, Olivia Martin's mom was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer.

"I was very scared and, of course, I was nervous my mother was going to die, and I also wanted to know what was cancer," Olivia said.

Only 7-years-old at the time, Martin remembers having a lot of questions about the "C" word, and also feeling the stress of the unknown.

"Even if you don't exactly know what's going on, you can feel the stress around you by the body language of the people around you," Martin said.

Her mom is a survivor and Olivia Martin is now a 15-year-old Girl Scout who chose to write her book, "C is for Cancer," for her Girl Scout Gold Award project.

Her goal was to take the mystery out of the disease and treatment for other kids who have family members with cancer.

"As I read through it, I was amazed. I thought it was not what I expected. I thought (that) the points she was making are exactly what I think children have to ask themselves and they do ask themselves," said Dr. Steve Weitman, a pediatric oncologist at the Cancer Therapy and Research Center.

Weitman helped edit the book. He said it's different from others because the author really knows what it's like to have a parent with cancer.

In the book, kids can find assurance that cancer is not contagious and that it's not their fault.   

There are also ideas on how to be a great support to their loved ones during treatment.

"I put in there (that kids) can help around the house, doing some chores (or other) little things just to help around the house," Martin said.

Her hope is that parents will read the book alongside their kids as a conversation-starter, so kids will feel comfortable asking more questions throughout the process.

Martin's book will only be published online so that there will not be a cost incurred. She wants it to be a free resource for the community.

Currently, it is posted on the CTRC website.

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