Make a terminally ill child a hero in their own personalised adventure story

A book publisher has come up with a novel and creative way to bring a bit of joy to terminally ill children.

The children’s publisher Ventorros Press is running a Christmas project to raise money to produce personalised, illustrated adventure stories in which the child to whom the book is given is the main character.

Not only are they the hero, but their book will be individualised with characters named after pets, friends and family members and illustrations allowing them to see themselves represented in their very own story.

This project was inspired by Ventorros’ publication of I give you The Moon by author Ffion Jones, inspired by the true story of Baran Akarka, an eight-year-old boy with a rare form of cancer, who died in January of 2021.

She wrote the touching personalised story for Baran and his sister Leyla after following updates about his illness and their relationship on Facebook.

Image above: Ffion Jones’ book I give you the Moon, published by Ventorros Press

Her story is about the power and endurance of sibling love. Gareth Jones’ illustrations bring that love to life on the pages.

Following Baran’s passing, his mother Annabel spoke about just how much the book had meant to both Baran and his family:

“When a child becomes seriously ill most of their time will now be spent in hospital and we know how physically and mentally draining this becomes for the child and the whole family,” she posted on Facebook.

This was the last book they read to Baran as he passed away, and this “one last adventure” gave “Baran and ourselves a lot of joy and comfort” she said.

“We’ve already sat down and read the book quite a few times as Leyla is mesmerised by the fact that her and Baran are in the book together.”

It is a “wonderful way to keep Baran’s memory alive” and will continue to “show Leyla how amazing her big brother was and still is.”

Managing director of Ventorros Press Graham Mulvein commented:

“When we heard how much Baran had loved the book, having it by his side when he passed away, we saw that there was a way we could bring a little light to other children in similar circumstances.”

Baran’s mother Annabel agreed:

“We believe many more children and families deserve this gift too.”

Given enough support, the publisher hopes to extend this venture to children with long-term health conditions, whose life is spent travelling in and out of hospitals.

For now, though, they hope their project will be able to provide some of the most poorly children with their very own magical escapism this Christmas.

A spokesperson for Ventorros Press said:

“If we can raise just £10,000, we will be able to brighten-up the days of around 15 children and their families.”

With two weeks left on their Kickstarter campaign, Ventorros have raised around a quarter of their £10,000 goal.

The campaign ends on 26 December and the fundraising page can be found here.

The campaign was highlighted to The Chiswick Calendar by the owner of literary agency Intersaga, Annaklarin Klerflak, who works with Ventorros. Anna is a regular contributor to The Chiswick Calendar with her monthly book recommendations.

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