Victoria Jackson faced every mother’s worst nightmare when she was told that her vibrant, seemingly healthy 14-year-old daughter has a rare autoimmune disease and that she may only have four to six years to live. Instead of accepting that diagnosis as inevitable, Jackson set about to change the prognosis by forming a foundation that would bring together experts from around the globe to work on a cure. She and her daughter tell the story of that quest in the book, Saving Each Other: A Mystery Illness, A Search for a Cure, A Mother Daughter Love Story by Victoria Jackson and Ali Guthy.
Jackson is exactly the kind of person you would want in your corner if you were ever facing incredible odds. Growing up disadvantaged, she rebelled as a teenager and never finished high school. Yet through her savvy and tenacity, she turned her ability to work wonders with cosmetics into a career first and then into an empire. Jackson’s curiosity, her ability to focus on doing what she needs to do to achieve her goals and her tireless pursuit of those goals served her well in life. They are also the traits that let her push even harder when she is working for her daughter’s health. Yet Jackson is also candid about the demons she faced along the way, including crippling anxiety that kept her from flying for many years.
As the daughter with the illness, Ali Guthy matures through the telling of the story as she progresses from a 14-year-old girl who doesn’t want to know what she has or what it means to her life, to a young woman who is willing to face the challenges of a disease that is often painful and always frightening. After years of letting her mother lead the charge, Guthy bravely steps into the fray and works alongside her.
The Jackson-Guthy family, fortunately, has resources that many of us do not, which means they could set up a foundation and fund research that will ultimately help many other people as well. The proceeds from the book directly support scientific and clinical research for Nueromyelitis Optica, or NMO, which is the disease that Guthy lives with.
Saving Each Other is a story of love and of hope. It shows that while disease and other frightening disasters can confront any of us at any time, we can choose to respond with courage and spirit even when the odds are stacked against us.
I have one copy of this uplifting story to give away to a reader in the U.S. Just leave a comment below telling us something inspiring about your mother or your daughter (comment by midnight Pacific Standard Time on February 14 to be entered into the giveaway). Please note: the giveaway is closed. Congratulations to Carol on winning.
The author provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.