Helping little ones cope with cancer

Local author inspired by her daughter

By Morgyn Cooper - [email protected]

Dyan and her daughter, Emma, at the hospital.

Courtesy photos

The cover art for “Amazing Annabelle.”

Courtesy photos

Delaware resident Dyan Fox recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to publish a book for kids with cancer that will help ease their fears — as well as fund cancer research.

Fox wrote the children’s book “Amazing Annabelle” after watching her own 3-year-old daughter, Emma, go through a cancer diagnosis in 2015.

Emma was diagnosed with a genetic disorder called neurofibromatosis, which causes tumors to grow along nerves. Due to this disorder, not only will she always have the six tumors they already found, but she’ll also be at increased risk of developing cancer for the rest of her life.

To get Emma through the difficult things she had to experience, as well as help her understand those things, Fox started making up stories that turned nurses into princesses and surgeries into extravagant balls.

“When she had to get bandage changes for her Broviac catheter, the nurses had to put on big yellow gowns and masks to keep the area sterile, and I told Emma to imagine they were getting dressed for a ball,” Fox said.

Fox said that when she saw how much Emma loved her stories and how well she responded, she thought writing a book would be a great way to help kids just like Emma.

“I’ve been where these moms and dads are,” she said. “I’ve seen my child suffer, and I’ve lived through the same helplessness, the same tears and the same heartbreak. I want their children to be able to read a story about someone just like them, fall in love with the beautiful pictures, and imagine going on their own epic adventures. But most of all, I want to help these families hold onto joy, and hope.”

Fox said she aimed to create something that could whisk these kids away from their bad experiences and plunge them into fantastic fantasies. Each page of the book begins in a tough situation — getting bad news after having images taken or feeling too sick to play — and ends with a exciting yet comforting adventure, like a magic carpet ride or undersea excursion.

“We experienced firsthand what these kids and families go through, and cancer feels like it’s too big of a problem to take on,” Fox said. “But we can get this book published, and try to help other kids, and ultimately, contribute to cancer research. That seems much more doable.”

“Amazing Annabelle” is about a little girl who uses her imagination to get through her cancer diagnosis and treatment. In order to face scary realities like losing her hair and going into surgery, Annabelle pretends to go on exhilarating adventures instead.

“Amazing Annabelle” is the first of three books planned for kids with serious medical conditions and, once published, it will be for sale on Amazon in paperback form.

Fox plans to give 50 percent of her after-tax profits from future sales to the charity Unravel Pediatric Cancer. Donations to Unravel go directly to researchers working to find more effective and less toxic treatments for pediatric cancer, as well as a cure. She also plans, with the support of her Kickstarter backers, to donate copies of her book to pediatric cancer patients around the country.

To learn more or to donate to the cause, visit

Dyan and her daughter, Emma, at the hospital. and her daughter, Emma, at the hospital. Courtesy photos

The cover art for “Amazing Annabelle.” cover art for “Amazing Annabelle.” Courtesy photos
Local author inspired by her daughter

By Morgyn Cooper

[email protected]

Morgyn Cooper is an intern for The Gazette.

Morgyn Cooper is an intern for The Gazette.

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