I’ll Stand by You: One Woman’s Mission to Heal the Children of the World

Elissa Montanti, Author, Jennifer Haupt, Author
Elissa Montanti with Jennifer Haupt. Dutton, $25.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-525-95295-4
Paperback - 236 pages - 978-0-14-219689-2
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-101-59090-4
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After her parents’ divorce and the deaths of her mother, an old boyfriend, and grandmother, Montani was holed up in her small Staten Island apartment working as a medical assistant and suffering from debilitating panic attacks and depression. Her fog lifted when she wrote and performed a song for a local Bosnian relief fund-raiser in 1997. She was inspired to do whatever she could when she found a letter from a 14-year-old Bosnian boy named Kenan who had lost his arms and a leg in a land mine. He had outgrown his donated prosthetics and desperately needed new ones. “I want to help,” Montanti said without hesitation, realizing her own problems paled in comparison. Soliciting donations from companies, surgeons, and airlines, the Global Medical Relief Fund was born. Kenan and his mother flew to New York City and stayed with the author while he underwent physical therapy and fittings. With no money, no office (except her closet), and, eventually, no job, the GMRF went on to bring more than 150 children to the U.S. to be fit with prosthetics. The author’s spirits are as changed in this straightforward and sweet narrative as the lives of those she helped—and she finds hope, happiness, and love along her difficult but rewarding journey. (Aug.)
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