I am really looking forward to curling up on the couch tomorrow evening, in front of a warm fire, wine bottle *cough* glass at my side, munchies at the ready, and making a start on The Big Book of Hope. I’ve been waiting for a quiet moment to read it ever since being lucky enough to win a copy on Twitter a couple of weeks ago.
A ‘competition’ was run on Twitter where users were asked to tweet a story of hope with the hashtag #bigbookofhope in order to win a copy of the book. There were some amazing stories tweeted.
A few hours before the competition ended, I happened to be browsing photos of Ally’s debs and thinking of how the last 17 years had flown by. She was so tiny (1lb 10 ozes), and so ill when she was born. I had her baptised when she was two days old on the advice of her doctors. It felt awful heading back home to Kildare, a week after her birth, and leaving her in an incubator in the ICU in The Coombe Women’s Hopsital in Dublin, connected to a ventilator, with tubes everywhere.
I’ll never forget the day the phone rang and a nurse at the hospital asked me to come in as Ally wasn’t expected to make it. She’d developed a stomach bug overnight, a very serious complication for such a tiny baby. All I could do was touch her hand through the opening in the incubator cover and watch and pray. Someone was watching over her because she began to improve. Slowly and steadily she gained weight and, four months later, weighing 5lbs, she was discharged from the hospital.
While thinking back on this, a few lines popped into my head and I tweeted them as my story of hope.
It’s always nice to win something and this book, in particular, is very special. The book was launched in order to raise funds for the Hope Foundation, which works with the street children of Calcutta. It contains lots of stories by well known figures such as Joseph O’Connor, Maeve Binchy, Evelyn Cusack, Denis O’Brien, Claudia Caroll, among others, and was compiled by Hazel Katherine Larkin and Vanessa O’Loughlin of Inkwell.
The Big Book of Hope can be bought online from Poolbeg. There’s been so much talk on Twitter about it that I’d advise you to buy quickly! With so many fantastic contributors, this is a gem of a book and something to be treasured for years to come.
P.S. Ally completed her Leaving Cert this year. This is a photo of her heading off to her Debs last month.