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Sunday, February 07, 2010

Our New Scholarship: Alex Lieber Memorial Scholarship

I am very pleased to announce that we are offering a new scholarship for young men with hemophilia or anyone with von Willebrand Disease. And best of all, we are offering this as a way to help pay for books, travel costs, dorm living... anything that the student needs to help get them through a semester. The scholarship will not be given as a payment to the college, but as American Express cards in the amount of the scholarship. This will help the student practically and they can be used immediately.

We've tried to make it simple. The candidate should have decent grades and of course a bleeding disorder, but what we are really looking for is someone with compassion and initiative, someone with solid volunteer experience.

This is important because it reflects the values of the young man we seek to honor through this scholarship, Alex Leiber of Texas. Alex was only 16 when he was struck with bacterial meningitis. He died on December 21, 2003, just four days before Christmas. Within just 48 hours, he was gone, leaving behind a heart-broken family and many friends who have kept his memory alive. You can read about Alex and what a remarkable young man he was on the scholarship page. Stories about Alex were actually submitted by his mom Tammy to me when he was just a child, for the first edition of my book Raising a Child with Hemophilia, back in 1990. Like everyone, I was devestated to hear we had lost him.

We are so proud to be able to offer this scholarship to honor Alex, and thank Tammy and Jim Lieber for allowing us this privilege. The Alex Lieber Memorial Scholarship is offering two $1,000 scholarships. Persons with hemophilia or von Willebrand disease accepted to an accredited college, university, or vocational/technical school can apply. Candidates must be able to demonstrate a strong record of volunteer service.

The deadline is April 1, 2010. You can apply here: http://www.kelleycom.com/AlexLieber/application.php

We hope to hear from you! And God bless Alex and his family, now and always.

Interesting Book I Just Read
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski


This is an intriguing fiction, about a mute child growing up in a Wisconsin family that breeds dogs, dogs so well matched genetically and trained that they command premium prices. The story is about love and disappointment, family members and dashed expectations, and loss. Much loss. Edgar's muteness gives him a special bond with his dogs, whom he learns to train. The father and mother love Edgar, and their dogs. But tragedy strikes when Edgar's beloved father dies suddenly. And herein lies the trouble for me... the book, so lyrically written, with such amazing prose, and imagery that will have you even put the book down and wonder how someone could write like that... just seems to then take a Hollywood cookie-cutter approach. I suddenly saw this story, which spends an awful lot of time with tremendously detailed background about dog breeding, and the family's own roots and members, and presents deep psychology, become, well, like a screenplay. A whodunit.

And there are multiple comparisons that could be made to the Jungle Book (both Wroblewski's and my favorite childhood book) and Hamlet. Well, is it Mowgli or Hamlet? Pretty different comparisons. There are even allusions to Colton Harris-Moore, the barefoot burgler kid of Camano Island (the one who steals planes). Some characters are just not explained well at all. Others, like the amazing character of Almondine the dog, are brilliant and consistent. The book is over 500 pages, not an easy read for most, and after I realized it was going to be a whodnit with a denouement that I can just see up on the big screen, it kind of lost its charm for me. I found myself just flipping pages fast to get through it. (And let it be known I devoured every page of Moby-Dick) The writing, however, is superb. My daughter is now attending the college that Wroblewski attended, and she's a pretty good writer herself. I know this is a good book (rave reviews from most critics), but despite the masterful imagery, and an unforgettable central character in Edgar, I just saw a sell out somehow; it started so fresh and wondrously creative, then kind of nosedived into this ridiculous Columbo-style plot (although Columbo was better). The ending is unbelievably depressing. But it's still worth a read. Two stars.

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