*** UPDATE on Emma's "Candy Box"
Emma received her LTC's Brain Candy Project Candy Box full of sketch books and professional art supplies on Tuesday the 20th of April. Her father, Jim, was kind enough to video the unboxing. I share it with their permission. Emma's beaming face is the best birthday present I could have received! (I celebrated my birthday on the 22nd.)
Emma, age 19, is a warrior and a superhero like her Mama Amie, whom she lost to breast cancer in August, 2018. Emma lost her leg, too, when she was just 8 years old. Then she developed 9 brain tumors that have required 24 brain surgeries to address. These have dramatically compromised her vision and balance, and have contributed to countless other physical and mental health challenges. Emma has another sister with advanced special needs, and their widowed father is a disabled veteran and full-time caregiver to both.
Art and writing are Emma's passions and they are her saving grace, too, helping her deal with almost constant physical pain as well as her grief, along with giving her a way to engage her powerful voice to share her and her family's extraordinary story. Emma told me that her dream is to someday have a published large-print volume of her own poetry.
You can find out more about Emma and her family's journey in her own words here:
An Autobiography of My Life
On the 22nd of April, 2021, Emma composed the following message to accompany her first drawing with her new Brain Candy sketchbooks and art materials:
She's Smiling Down At Us
I have to get the fact that Mama is gone forever until the day that I die. Which hopefully won't be for a very long time. Although somethings I wish it would be sooner, because of all the pain I am in at this moment. But I can tell you that Mama is up there and she's smiling right down at me, because she knows I can fight through anything and get through anything or as much as I can.
So here is a drawing I did, of her smiling down at me. And I really really really really really really really really really really really miss my Mama.
And I am still grieving about her all the time. Even when I am drawing.
You are invited to read more of Emma's Writings at: https://emmabwrites.blogspot.com
Emma is the first recipient of The LTC's Brain Candy Project
Candy Box. She will also be the first young artist featured in our upcoming Brain Candy Magazine: a worldwide arts-based digital magazine to be written by and for young people who are living with critical illness. Brain Candy Magazine will be a means to express, inspire and share, as well as to discover and reassure one another that they are not alone on their epic journeys. This magazine was part of The Brain Candy Project vision from its inception in 2007, and we are proud to finally bring it to realization. Pending adequate funding and sponsorship, our goal is to create an annual large-print paper
Brain Candy Magazine publication by 2022, which will include entries from all Candy Box recipients for the year.
If you know of any young people, up to age 21, who are dealing with critical or terminal illnesses who may be good candidates to be a Candy Box, recipient, please contact
Due to their injuries, surgeries and illnesses, young people like Emma and Cameron may develop severe vision difficulties. This makes digital magazines and small print very difficult to see. A bold, large-print paper magazine will benefit readers or all abilities, and can also serve as a tool for occupational therapy.
Most of us take for granted the simple act of turning a page.
Let's help these extraordinary young people turn theirs.
To donate to The LTC's Brain Candy Project,
please click the giving, receiving, holding button below:
"Nice Louie" by Emma B.
On behalf of Emma B. and her family (including Louie),
we thank you for your kind and generous support.
Emma B. and Louie
Cameron David Allen (1995-2008) AA3
The Lost Travelers Club/
The Brain Candy Project