“ A true love story of life, family, friends, doctors and community: As could only be told by this fabulous daughter-mother team”
I’m honored to have been part of their lives."
—Frances Baumgarten, PhD
"Leslie personified the art of living life in the face of adversity. The purity of her spirit allowed her enhance the good in everything. I miss the joy and the beauty she unselfishly gifted to the world."
—Neil Barth, M.D.
Click on link below to hear the song Christine wrote and sings for Leslie.
This was a very moving story, and completely written through emails. diary entries and notes from Leslie and her mother, it forms a full story of the journey that they took. This isn't a simple cancer story, Leslie's cancer, as well as other medical complications took years, and at a time when most young people are out playing and having fun. Rather than becoming a depressing tale, the narrative is uplifting, positive, and really allows the reader to glimpse into this beautiful soul, and her ability to lift others up. I have been surrounded with loved ones and cancer before, and so I was worried that it would be too depressing, but I really enjoyed it. A remarkable tale, and a gift that she left to others.
The book is a beautiful memoir of Leslie and Jan's journey through the joys and strife they faced together living life with cancer. Having faced a similar battle with my late wife's illness and eventual passing, it was wonderful to read Jan and Leslie's completely honest sharing of their feelings and experiences. Thank you for writing this book. It represents all that is good in people and is a testament to remembering what is important in life.
Follow the lives of Leslie & Jan through emails they’ve written to friends, family, doctors & a few movie stars. This work is well done and so powerful. I found myself missing Leslie, even though I’d never met her. What a positive warrior, full of love & determination! I have had the pleasure of meeting Jan and she is as genuine, authentic & loving as it seems throughout the book. A true story of strength, courage & love.
This book is a "must read". A memoir of Leslie and Jan's journey through Leslie's illness and treatment and their joys and sorrows. As a 16 year old Leslie was diagnosed with melanoma. She was only 27 when the ravages of multiple cancer assaults took her life. I learned that she was highly intelligent, brave, confident, loving, funny and genuinely interested in people and the world around her. She shared her knowledge and insights. With an indomitable spirit and a loving, supportive mother (Jan) she courageously faced each new challenge. I wish I'd known her.
This book is a testament to many things. A testament to love, a testament to being alive and to understanding just how precious the gift of life is. At first you may think this book is only about the story of a wonderful young lady, Leslie Sinclair. But it’s about so much more. Yes, it is about her, her physical, mental and emotional struggles with cancer, the treatments, the getting well and getting sick again and again. It’s about her endurance, her love and her zeal for life, her kind, caring and giving attitude for others. It’s a story of indescribable grief over the loss of a daughter and a husband. But it is also about a mother. It’s about a mother whose love for her child is so special that I can’t find the words to describe it. It’s a story about a girl, a mother, a brother, a family, a group of friends and professionals who, because of this young lady’s illness, gravitated towards each other and either consciously or unconsciously created a real-life story that is extraordinary. Some of those missing puzzle pieces from our lives can be found in this book and you will find that they will fit perfectly into your heart and soul. By all means read this book! It will give you inspiration, willingness, the strong desire to live, to love, and to grab life for all it’s worth! This book tells us that as we live our lives, we are writing our own story and will make us think about what type of story we have written so far and what type of story we will be writing in the future.
"Leslie's radiating happiness impacted my life in a way I didn't know existed; I now know what she lived for, love."
(Lifelong best friend)
"What a beautiful story. Leslie's mom kept her promise to Leslie and finished her story. A collection of emails to family and friends from Leslie and parallel emails by her mother, Jan throughout their journey.With tones of hope, positivity, humor and science. Beautifully done."
—Paige Rallo Zak
"Leslie to me was like a big "hug of life". Every time I saw her, it was life affirming - she was just so open-hearted and genuine... people who touch your heart never really leave you."
Healing Odyssey (HO7)
Loveandhugsleslie, couldn't put it down, finished it last night, late. I never knew all the details, watched and prayed from afar. Her life was filled to the brim with Living, yet I can't help but wonder what more she would have done with it. She touched lives and left them better for it. This book will continue that legacy. Every time you share the story you are planting seeds of the Love known as Leslie. Thank you for fulfilling your promise to finish the work she started. Just please know that it is really only beginning and will go on to bear precious fruit in your life. She will continue to touch you because she continues, Love is the result and Love never fails.
Long-awaited, anxiously anticipated! Wishes for Leslie's life journey to touch others lives as deeply as she touched those who knew and loved her.
— Maryjo Kutter Querry
"Love & Hugs, Leslie" is a wonderful tribute to Leslie. - And also to a mother's love and to Jan. The format of a parallel memoir is a top-notch way to present those years, emotions
A wonderful work of love.
This is a fantastic memoir of a young woman who had tremendous physical struggles but rarely faltered mentally, emotionally or spiritually. Her gift to the world and to all who knew her was unconditional love and unencumbered inspiration to be better, to live stronger and to love always. Reading this book will inspire gratitude for your own life and remind you that there are amazing, kind, strong and pure people in the world, including Leslie, Jan and all of those wonderful souls who helped them through their journey. I highly recommend this book!!! — VT
Leslie masterfully and poignantly conveys the strength, perseverance, grace and humor with which she faced her melanoma battle. Through her words, she encourages and inspires readers to fight and survive their own life challenges by staying in the moment and positively focusing on the gifts of love, relationships and experiences. It's a powerful reminder of: If Not Now, WHEN? A must read.
What an inspiring and compelling book! I couldn’t put it down and didn’t want the flow of wisdom to end. Leslie lives on in her beautiful prose and genuine love and courage, and through Jan’s love, faith, and compassion. Truly a “must read” for ANYONE facing life’s inevitable challenges.
I got this book yesterday and stayed up all night to finish it! It is such a beautiful, heartbreaking, and inspirational book of love between a daughter and a mother, and their parallel struggle of dealing with a terrible illness. I truly felt like I was on the journey with them through all of it! I will read it again and again when I feel I need an example of what courage looks like.
I just finished this book and could not put it down. Leslie's attitude - while going through the darkest of times - is truly a gift. This book taught me about gratitude and the value of staying positive no matter what. I learned that we all have the choice to lead our own lives as a bright light or a dark bulb. Leslie chose to lead as a bright light, and you can tell what a difference she made. Jan's perspective walking alongside Leslie reflects the pain and pride a parent feels, and that it takes a team to fight cancer. The fact that Matt Damon (a stranger to Leslie initially) made it a priority to become a soldier in Leslie's fight is amazing, and is such a fun part of this story. An example of it doesn't take a lot to put a smile on people's faces - it just take a good heart and intention. This is the most heart-warming story that is much needed in this world today, and I highly recommend it to others looking for inspiration and struggling to find their place in the world.
For anyone whose life has been affected by cancer, or if you have a family member or friend who suffered from this terrible disease, this is a must read. Its about a young woman who fought cancer with dignity and with a positive spirit that is inspiring. Unfortunately, her battle with cancer was eventually lost after many years fighting it off. The book is also about her Mom who endured the worst nightmare a mother can have. The way Leslie lived teaches a lesson that we must live our lives to the fullest every day because you never know how long you will
The story of Jan and Leslie's journey is inspired and inspiring. I related as a mom, daughter, and friend as I cheered, cried, prayed and recommitted to live (and love) life in a greater way.
This is a "must read" for all humans. I could not put it down! Leslie and her mother's emails and journal entries are masterfully woven together to tell their beautiful, tragic, gripping story. It will change your life.
What a beautiful job you did Jan, to present this story. It was tough to get through and I had to walk away at times. You brought Leslie back to life for so many people to enjoy. In some moments it was like sitting across the table with her in conversation. What a brave, adventurous, multi dimensional young lady. Children are a reflection of their parents.
This book will change the appreciation you have for life and health. You will feel the incredible love and bond between a mother and daughter. I could not put the book down. I found myself cheering inside for every clear scan or MRI. Read it in two days. You will not be disappointed.
I've read this book in awe. First of all, the way in which Leslie deals with her illness. In reading these memories you feel the pain, but also the deep trust and gratitude. She really lived her life intensely and with compassion for others. I was especially moved by her deep spiritual experience of life. I have written down some of those wisdoms so as not to forget them. I can recommend everyone to read this book. It inspired me immensely.
This is a beautifully written memoir. As a personal friend of the family, it helped provide clarity about this difficult time. It is sweet and poignant, and full of love! This book is inspiring, and makes you realize, once again, why you adore these women so much.
—Brandi Milano Robinson
Do you know those days where everything seems to go wrong? Computer problems. The car won’t start. Spilling coffee on a new white shirt right before a meeting. What if I was to tell you there is a book, without preaching, that provides some sobering perspective. This book does just that. After the death of my mother, life’s small annoyances have felt exaggerated. It was easy to redirect some of the normal life occurrences as “unfair,” “why me,” and so on. Guess what? That’s no way to live, and this book reminds you about the unwavering power of a positive attitude and appreciation for the small things. After reading this book, you may wake up a little more bright-eyed, a little more inspired, and a lot more grateful for the mysterious and unpredictable life we all experience. A thoughtful, surprising, and well-written account of unconditional living.
In a world where some seek safe places and are unable to face adversity, comes a story of compassion, courage, and love....Few people if any could face the ordeal that Leslie and Jan did and maintain the positive attitudes that they displayed during this trying time.....The memoirs put our daily struggles into perspective, causing one to pause and think....Well done Leslie!!! Well done Jan!!!
Loved knowing Leslie through her own words. Have a deep respect for the heartbreak Jan endured, but survived.
This is amazing book written with such elegance and grace by a mother and daughter who battle cancer.
Leslie, who is only 16 when she is diagnosed with melanoma, writes with such optimism and humor.
Her passion for travel, love of family and friends is so heartfelt.
She continues her studies throughout high school and college meeting new friends and keeping friendships from age 5.
Leslie volunteers to help others while going through difficult times of treatment.
When Leslie writes, you savor the beautiful words and quotes that she adds after many entries.
I found myself writing them down and rereading them several times.
This is a book of inspiration about an incredible young adult. Leslie reminds us how family, friends and love keep us going.
Jan, her mom, did a heartfelt job of writing while Leslie was journaling on her computer.
Two amazing women with love and joy so deep.
Love and a big hug to Jan
So often in today’s world, we are distracted from our feelings; our center, our hearts. This book calls you home. As you read each wonderfully written page, you will experience the astonishing love and absolute naked courage in which Mother and Daughter share on their remarkable journey together . If I were a school teacher, I would make this a required book to read because it’s honesty and humanity break your heart wide open and it is only with an open heart that we can live each day in love, being fully present. If not now, when?
A remarkable story about a remarkable young lady who made an impact on her world!!!
A quote by Barbara Sher:
"In the rush of daily living it's easy to forget all the remarkable people real or fictional, who have been a part of your life. But if you just imagine they are near for a moment, you will realize that anyone who ever touched your heart is always with you, patiently waiting to emanate warmth and support whenever you remember to think of them"
Leslie was remarkable.
This book is a stunning example of how regular life and adversity can be mixed. It reminds me of The Diary of Anne Frank in that way. A young girl becoming a young women is faced with tremendous odds against survival is, at base, a fascinating story. But what makes this book special, like Anne’s diary, is Leslie’s voice. We hear a young woman who barely understands cancer or the kind she has become an expert, despite what she’d like to do. Here’s a girl who can’t help but notice how cute an orderly is in the hospital she’s in as a patient. Unusual and out of the ordinary things are happening around her, but she has school and friends and family and a life she’d rather concentrate on than any if her symptoms and medications. Things do not go easy for Leslie but she accepts and handles how she can, as she can. And like Anne Frank, she continues to see the good in life and people despite the very tough hand she had been dealt. I was extremely lucky to have known Leslie and to continue to have her mom, Jan, in my life. This book is a testament to their love for each other. There’s no escaping the sadness of losing Leslie, but sharing her lessons, insights and acceptance gives us a piece of her to carry with us always. I sincerely recommend this book to anyone wanting to expand their heart.
Being the mother, myself, of a young woman who has faced cancer, this beautiful memoir of Leslie and Jan living this struggle together (each with her own perspective) touched my heart deeply.
To be passionate about life even when facing daily challenges to one's body and spirit is inspirational. To be compassionate for others, friends, family even strangers in the light of such obstacles is compelling.
To be able to reflect on the meaning of one's life and existence in a rational way amidst overwhelming emotions is a unique gift.
To cherish and nurture friendships in difficult times rather than draw into oneself in despair is a tribute to the human spirit, especially Leslie's. It is a life lesson for every reader.
Both Leslie and Jan, whom I love, are among my greatest heroines. Together their courage, strength, determination and love inspires me with hope and optimism for the future.
In one of the emails Leslie wrote simply but eloquently:
"...no matter how out of control you feel about whatever occurs, know that you can choose how you react. You have that power. That is the power of God that is in each and every one of us."
That power will continue to shine through both Leslie's and Jan's words. Thank you for bringing these touching words and feelings to life.
This book is a unique, mother/daughter parallel memoir told largely through emails sent to family and friends during the daughter’s course of treatment for cancer. It chronicles the illness and the toll it had on the young woman’s life, both physically and emotionally. The story explains the ravaging effects of cancer. Yet, the book is so much more. It’s also a poignant tribute to Leslie, a spirited young woman, who packed so much life into twenty-seven years. Leslie retained her sense of humor in the midst of suffering and created moments of laughter through her pirate jokes and lighthearted quips. Readers will find inspiration from the strength she showed during unimaginable treatments.
In its aftermath, Leslie’s mother, Jan, initially found it difficult to get through the day, sometimes coping twenty minutes at a time to handle the grief. Jan’s insight throughout each stage of Leslie’s illness, will help other caregivers understand the progression of the disease, the decisions to be made and the range of emotions to expect.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who needs a reminder that life is precious.