Sunday, November 27, 2011

Family Matters…So Does Cancer

by Seleste deLaney
For most people, beyond the trappings—religious or secular—the holidays mean one very important thing: family. Today I want to talk about one family member in particular. You see, a lot of my family is supportive of my writing career…in concept. When it comes to mentioning my books to their friends or sometimes even buying themselves, they just don’t. And that’s okay. I mean, I don’t go around pimping what they do either, so it’s fair enough. But my sister Kim has been with me from the beginning.

She read the first novel I ever wrote (and subsequently shelved), and has read everything I’ve put out since then. She’s pimped me out to friends and coworkers. And she’s been a supporter of a few other members of my Decadent family as well. Like I said in the dedication of The Ghost of Vampire Present, she’s my number one cheerleader.

But it might not have been that way.

Before I ever wrote that first novel (back in November 1998), Kim was diagnosed with stage II breast cancer. For those of you who don’t know, cancer is divided into four stages, with I being the least invasive, IV the most. Hers hadn’t spread to other areas of her body yet, but over half her lymph nodes were also involved. She was 35 and “too young” to have cancer according to her first doctor. Radiation, two cycles of chemotherapy, a mastectomy, and a whole lot of pain meant she got to stay with us.

But without those treatments, her daughter wouldn’t have a mom, my mom wouldn’t have a daughter, I wouldn’t have a sister, and she never would have been able to see me realize my dream of being a published author. She would never have been able to be that cheerleader.

Needless to say, when Decadent asked for volunteers for the Read for a Cure program (instead of assigning it as they had been), I jumped at the opportunity. When they told me they’d chosen my novella, The Ghost ofVampire Present, as December’s Read for a Cure book, I almost cried. No one at Decadent knew the story behind the dedication or that my sister had cancer (at least not as far as I know), but given that I volunteered under whichever name they preferred, it seemed destiny for them to choose this book.

This holiday season, whatever your faith and no matter how much or how little you can afford to do, hold your family close and tell them you love them. I was blessed with a large family who drives me absolutely bonkers most of the time, but I don’t ever want to have to imagine life without one of my siblings again.

And if you can find it within your means to purchase a copy of The Ghost of Vampire Present in December (not yet…still a couple days), know that all publisher proceeds will go to the American Cancer Society to help fund research to keep one more parent, sibling, or child alive. As for me, for every copy sold in December, I’ll be donating fifty cents to Kim’s Relay for Life team as well because the cause matters, and so does she.

I’m supposed to do a giveaway with this post, so I’m offering a digital copy of Of Course I Try, the short story that comes before The Ghost of Vampire Present

**In addition, I’m putting together a little vampire care package to send to the winner. To enter, I’d like you to tell me what charity you are most dedicated to and (if you want) why. And I urge you to give to that charity this holiday season as well**

Happy holidays and blessed be. 


  1. That was heartwarming! Hard to pick one charity as I support several but this year I gave to one that supports servicemen and women blinded while on duty. One young man will never see his new child. Very sad.

  2. I support the Shriners. They are the people up North who would ride around in the little cars and wave to the kids, but to our family they are the ones who made it possible for my dad to walk when he was little. My dad had leg perthes and even though his parents had no money the shriners did multiple surgeries,supplied multiple sets of crutches and what not so that my dad's affected leg had time to grow to match his healthy leg. Because of the shriners he was able to walk normally. I donate when I can and always go up and shake the hand and thank any Shriners I met. They are just business men who have banded together to help children.

  3. This is such a great cause. Unfortunately, my family knows the effects of cancer all too well. My mom, who was just 63, just passed away 10 days ago from cancer, my little brother, 15 yrs ago at the age of 25, and my maternal Grandmother, 12 yrs ago. We have donated all memorial funds from my moms funeral to American Cancer Society, as my parents had done the same with my brother and grandmother. My sincere hope is that one day there will be a cure for this horriying disease, and that more families or ours, will never have to deal with the debilitaing pain of watching another loved one die.

  4. Cancer has touched my family, too...great-grandmother, grandmother, mother, and myself. I donate to ACS on a regular basis

    Hugs and blessings to all.

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  5. Seleste,
    Thank you for sharing the story about your sister. I am so glad she is doing well! The charity that I support is Susan G. Komen. My sister lost her 18 yr battle with breast cancer last year. She was also diagnosed at a young age, 27. This year we did our 2nd run/walk with SGK in her memory.

  6. I admit, I usually support the humane shelters.

  7. Ronald MCDonald house charities. We had to take my daughter to St. Louis Children's Hospital. She was being treated for seizures. We would make trip after trip. We met all kinds of kids there with cancer, ms and other diseases. It was so sad and yet you really got to know these kids while you were there. The charity also pays for parents to be able to stay with their children for long stays. I support this charity b/c their are so many sick children out there with different problems. It's one of the reasons that I'm going to school now to be a physical therapist.

  8. I support Cancer Research because I lost both of my uncles to cancer. One was a special needs uncle. He was the sweetest, kindest man you could ever love. I also support Heart and Diabeties research because of my father. We lost him during the holidays of 2003 to a massive heart attack and he suffered from diabeties.

    koonie2888 at yahoo dot com

  9. DANG IT, Seleste, you have me crying right now, and you know I hate that! I had no idea, and I feel very honored that chose to share your story and make this available to our readers. It really shows WHY we do this each month.

    As you know, Lisa and I have had very close family pass from cancer--for me, 3 in one year including my father and 2 uncles--and my best friend is a Relay manager; she got me involved in Relay and it's so rewarding in every way.

    Thanks in advance to anyone who purchases Seleste's story, or ANY of our Read For a Cure stories. YOU DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE! (and come out to a Relay in your community. It's really FUN, very family oriented, lots of things to do and ways to fight back against cancer!)

  10. Seleste...THANK YOU on behalf of the American Cancer Society and Relay For Life communities EVERYWHERE!!! Your story is very moving and had me in tears too.

    The American Cancer Society funds more research than any other non-profit cancer organization. We are 2nd in cancer research funding...right behind the US Government. We are GLOBAL. We give .93 of every dollar raised to the cause! On behalf of the American Cancer Society and all the patients we help with FREE services and programs....THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!

    Julie Pizzitola
    Senior Relay For Life Manager
    California Division
    Border Sierra Region

  11. Oh, dear Seleste! God bless the fact you still have your sister around! I, too, support the American Cancer Society. My grandpop succumbed many, many years ago now, but I will never forget wiping his head with a cool cloth and giving him teaspoons of peanut butter to stave off the nausea. I'll also never forget the phone call I received and having to share it with family that had just left for out of town. I shall be buying your book in a few days because I want as many people living with cancer to reach their next holiday season!
    Love and hugs to you!

  12. I'm glad your sister is doing well. Thank you for sharing this heartfelt story, Seleste!

    Wishing you and your family a Happy Holiday season!

    I am in favor of the Elton John Aids Foundation.

  13. Im a huge supporter of our local no kill shelter .Both by donation and volunteering .At my work we foster animals for them andI started food donation bin.

  14. This was a beautiful post and I appreciate you sharing it. I'm a big supporter of our local animal shelter. I also support any group working in support of spinal cord research since I'm a quadriplegic.

    joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

  15. An awesome sounding book for a most awesome cause. As a former oncology nurse, I have to appreciate the love and support friends and family provide to those battling cancer - your hopes and wishes can often make a huge difference in overcoming the stress and pain of a terrible disease. Thanks to all who support Relay for Life - I love my survivor friends and family more than anything! Cheers!

  16. As an animal lover, I try to donate to local shelters as often as I can, but the charity that is closest to my heart is Paws For A Cause. My cousin has raised several assistance dogs & I've seen first hand how much work goes into training these special creatures, plus how much their help is appreciated by the people who receive them. These dogs are not just pets, they are life savers in so many different ways.

    drainbamaged.gyzmo at

  17. You have made me so proud both as a writer and a sister.
    I am blessed to have survived cancer with the help of God, my family and my doctors.
    I support so many causes, and will continue as long as I can. The one closest to my heart is St Jude's because they are there for children who haven't had a chance to really live yet. Cancer is a horrible disease and knowing the pain that is attached to it the children at St. Jude's are the real heroes in my book along with the many people who area associated with the hospital.
    Thank you for your generous gift to my Relay For Life team.


  18. What a wonderful tribute to your sister! My favorite charities are Breast Cancer research & treatment and the humane society.
    Have a wonderful holiday!
    manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com