What Are Patients, Families, Caregivers and Educators Saying about Digging Deep?



“It is like a therapist in a book!”
– Kayla, dialysis patient, age 11


“I am 15 and I have had cancer three times. You gave this book to the right kid.  I can relate to all the questions. I can answer every one in this book.  I could recommend Digging Deep to other kids.”
– Cameron, age 16, cancer survivor


“When my seven-year-old daughter was diagnosed with cancer last year she was given this book. It is full of lovely artwork with thought-provoking questions. Rather than just asking how she was feeling, my husband and I were able to ask if she’d like to pick a prompt to discuss or answer. She browsed through and filled in pages with her frustrations, questions, fears and raw emotions. I think this allowed her to have control over what she wanted to share and helped us communicate during a very, very difficult time in our lives. Digging Deep would make an excellent gift for a young-person facing a medical challenge.”
– Kristen Johnson, parent


“Ten years ago, when my daughter was a young teenager struggling through treatment of chronic Lyme, someone suggested that she start a journal. To my surprise, she not only started it, but kept it up for several years—recording her thoughts, and fears and hopes. It became an important outlet for her, a way to deal with the tumult of her life. I witnessed firsthand how writing a journal helped my daughter heal. If you know a young person who is struggling with chronic illness, Digging Deep could be a valuable gift.”
– Dorothy Kupcha Leland, parent, Touched by Lyme


“Finally, something to heal my child’s heart.”
– Parent of an oncology patient

“Not only do I love the heartfelt honesty of what you write, but I think that what you understand, as a survivor, is still far ahead of its time. Everything you write in your blog articles is completely true, honest, open, caring, and most of all, courageous. And from us other survivors to you, THANK YOU, for your amazing strength, enough to be exactly who you are. You’re the best.”
– Leia Lucas, survivor


Doctors and Health Care Professionals


“What a treasure Digging Deep has been for our families and young patients who are struggling with long-term illnesses. It is such a gift to see a child’s eyes light up when they are presented with the book and they realize it is just for them!  Parents love that it is often a launching pad to discuss feelings their child has been unable to express in words.  We will be using Digging Deep for years to come!”
– April Bignell, Family Services Director, JW House, Santa Clara, CA.


Digging Deep is a wonderful coping mechanism for children.  Our families have been quite impressed with the journal.”
-Michael Turlis, Executive Director, Ronald McDonald House, Danville


“What a valuable resource! Digging Deep has been a very popular book. We will be sure to order more.”
– Jennifer Banting, Family Resources, London Health Sciences Centre


“Digging Deep is a remarkable resource for children and teens living with serious illness. The simple–yet powerful–words and the vibrant images gently guide them through their experiences. By “digging deep,” these young people will, in fact, emerge into clarity and light.  The creative and therapeutic value of the journal makes it an ideal tool for child life specialists to integrate into their practice.”
– Barbara Sourkes, Ph.D., Professor of Pediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine, Director of Palliative Care, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital


“My staff are excited to have received this new resource available to support their patients.  Digging Deep is such a lovely and creative journal and we feel certain it will support our patients in expressing their thoughts and feelings and thereby better enable our Child Life team to care for the whole child and promote healing.”
– Gwen Senio, Manager, Child Life Program, University of Iowa Children’s Hospital


Digging Deep is AMAZING! It is one of the best resources I’ve seen in awhile.”
– Caitlin Creasley, CCLS, Children’s Medical Center of Dallas


“This extraordinary book provides a safe and inviting space in which young people can explore themselves and their health-related experiences through journaling. Digging Deep journaling is an inspired and exquisite application of the now well-established principle that expressive writing can have significant psychological and physical health benefits. All young people struggling with illness should have the opportunity to dig deep, to tell their stories, and to discover themselves in these beautifully illustrated pages. I predict that Digging Deep will become a treasured guide to inner healing for countless youth.”
– Dale G. Larson, Ph.D., Professor, Counseling Psychology, Santa Clara University, and Fellow, American Psychological Association. Author, The Helper’s Journey: Working with People Facing Grief, Loss, and Life-Threatening Illness.


“It is so important that children realize that they are not alone in their concerns and feelings.  Digging Deep asks the difficult questions that are not asked often enough.  By working through the questions, I believe children will gain strength in dealing with their situations.”
– Michael Amylon, M.D., co-founder, Camp Okizu, and Professor Emeritus and Pediatrician, Bone Marrow Transplant, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital


“Your book, Digging Deep, is fantastic! I think you should be given an M.S. in Narrative Medicine immediately!”
– Dr. Kirsten Roberts, Pediatrician, Jacobi Medical Center


“We have found this journal to be helpful for both young men and young women, and they love it!  They have found it to be a great outlet to help them cope with their ongoing situations.  Thanks for coming up with such a helpful, inspirational, useful resource for this population.”
– Katie Lehmann, LLMSW, Social Worker, Pediatric Palliative Care Program, Mott Children’s Hospital


“I have to tell you, as a Child Life Specialist, Digging Deep is such a wonderful tool. All the staff (child life, chaplain, and social work) kept exclaiming how great the book is—great exercises, beautiful artwork, a great professional tool.”
– Rachel N. Gorman, MA, CCLS, former Director of Hospital Outreach and Wellness Education, Soaringwords


“This extraordinary journal provides the reader both a joyful way to view all they have overcome, provides them opportunities to communicate with others on what’s important to them, and gives them both the experience of art and words to define all that they may be feeling but could not express on their own.”
– Mary Ellen Peterson, Executive Director, Parents Helping Parents, San Jose, CA


“The Digging Deep journals are great! They have helped so many of our patients already. The journals are invaluable in helping patients express their feelings. Love them!”
– Leslie A. Dempsey, BS, CCLS, St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital


“We are very fortunate to have this book as one of our resources. Digging Deep gives our campers the opportunity to express and deal with their feelings about their loss of control, changes in their appearance, family dynamic, and many other changes that cancer brings. Congratulations to the authors for producing such a helpful emotional place to be.”
– John Bell, Okizu Founder and Chairman, Camp Okizu, northern California


“You are truly making an impact in the lives of children facing illness!”
– Diane V. Morales, Baptist Children’s Hospital, Miami, FL


“Team G Childhood Cancer Foundation has been lucky enough to receive these books for our Hope Totes that we send to different pediatric cancer hospitals in the western region. I have personally received some wonderful comments on the Digging Deep books and how they have greatly helped these children facing illnesses with their journey.  These books are a wonderful way for young people (about 7 and up) to process their illnesses in a beautiful and creative way.”
– Kristen Cosner, founder, Team G Childhood Cancer Foundation


“Digging Deep is a great book for young people with health challenges as well as young people who are dealing with a parent who has health issues. At Cancer CAREpoint, we have used Digging Deep for our support group for teens whose parents have cancer. It is an excellent resource for both individual and group work written by two health professionals who have the experience and knowledge to understand the many, complex issues confronting youth dealing with health challenges. This book provides practical ways to encourage young people to articulate their feelings.”
– Rob Tufel, MSW, MPH, Executive Director, Cancer CAREpoint




“I think Digging Deep is a great resource for my master’s students pursuing certification as Child Life Specialists or Clinical Psychologists.  I am confident the practitioners will find the tool useful in their clinical practice.”
– Vicki Harris, Assistant Clinical Professor, Vanderbilt University


“I think Digging Deep would be a helpful resource in our Child Life training classes as it will provide insight into the needs of chronically ill children and provide tools for addressing those needs. It also will provide a future resource for our up-and-coming child specialists!”
– Jamie Sailors, PhD, Director of Undergrad Internships, Auburn University


“I am an adjunct faculty member at Bank Street co-teaching a graduate course.  Just last class, we spoke about the value of creative writing and narrative medicine at the bedside. We distributed Digging Deep to our students and encouraged them to try out pages in their internships and to share their experiences with the rest of the class.”
– Sarah Yazdian, CCLS, Art Therapist, Bank Street College and Mount Sinai Medial Center


Digging Deep is an excellent book and an invaluable tool to help youth navigate a serious health issue AND the medical model. I was most impressed with the sensitivity and insight provided. The lesson plans are excellently crafted and easily understood.  The tools are invaluable and done with an extraordinary amount of care. I would highly recommend this as a “must read” for any child with a serious health issue. It is both informative and uplifting.”
– Gary Riekes, founder, Riekes Center for Human Enhancement

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