When I was little, I wanted to be a veterinarian because I have always loved animals. My dream was to own horses and be a vet at a zoo. But that all changed suddenly when I diagnosed with brain cancer.
The surgery, chemo and radiation treatment were awful. For eight weeks after my surgery, I could not walk, talk, move my hands, eat, and had to have everything done for me. It was a very frightening time for me. It was my animals that helped me get through my illness and treatment. In fact, my parents promised me an animal after every treatment cycle to get me to co-operate. Animals helped me in ways that no person ever could. When I was able to return to school, it was difficult.
My classmates treated me differently. I felt like they treated me like a glass doll and no one would come close to me for fear I would break. I could no longer do the things with my friends that I used to do before I got sick. I could not walk, let alone run and play tag with my friends without falling. My voice sounded funny because my vocal cords were affected. I had to wear a hat because I had no hair. My hands were weak and I had trouble writing and doing things. I used to have so many friends and could do so many things. It was my animals that helped me get through these difficult times. They do not care if you do not have any hair, or can't walk well, they just loved you unconditionally and not for your appearance or abilities.
Despite all that happened to me, I was a fighter. I was not going to let the cancer or the limitations it left me with win. I knew I could not pursue becoming a vet so I volunteered at a local zoo and worked with the zookeepers. I loved volunteering and helping them care for the different animals. However, I soon realized that I did not have the strength or endurance or even the height to do the work of an animal keeper. I am only 4'8 because of the radiation to my spine and will not grow any taller. Even though I am 19 years old, people mistake me for being only 10 yrs old. I kept searching for how could I fulfill my dream to work with animals.
I have always loved taking photos of animals. When I was little, my parents would give me and my sisters a disposable camera whenever we went on vacation. They encouraged us to take pictures of our vacation. Well when we got our film developed, my photos were all of the dogs that I saw! So when I had the opportunity to take a digital photography class my senior year of high school, I did. My teacher early on told me that she saw potential in my photography skills.
She said I could tell stories through my photos. Of course, the majority of my photos were of animals. It was when I was in my first college class that I realized how I could use my love and passion for animals. I was given an assignment to put together a project that showed what my career goals were.
I had been volunteering with foster children and preschoolers at St. Joseph Children's Home and Child Development Center and decided that I would share my love of animals with young children and help them learn to see the beauty and detail of all animals using my photographs and creating a children's photo book. And so with the wonderful guidance of Lisa Umina at Halo Publishing, I have published my work, "What Do You See When You Look at Me?'.
With my book I hope to not only help young children learn to appreciate animals and the world we live in but to inspire others, like many of the foster kids, who have had bad things happen to them. I am using proceeds from my book to give back to the different groups who have not only helped me in my journey but believed in me and gave me chance. When these people looked at me, they did not see what the cancer did to me but they saw potential and good. I want people to realize that when you reach out and encourage someone, you really do make a difference in their life. And most of all I want people to know that no matter what happens to you in life, you can always choose to take something bad that happens and turn it into something good, just have faith in God.
About the Author:
Sarah E. Sauer is a childhood brain cancer survivor. She is also an animal lover. Sarah’s love of animals was something she drew on for strength throughout her illness. In her first children’s book, Sarah shares her love and respect for wildlife animals through her photos she took for her high school digital photography class. Sarah is currently studying early childhood education and hopes to share her love and knowledge of animals to promote and develop an appreciation of wildlife in young children. She currently lives in Corydon, IN with her family and her horses, llamas, donkey, cats and dogs.
Author website http://www.halopublishing.com/bookstore/Sarah-Sauer
Publisher website http://halopublishing.com/
Find out more about Sarah E. Sauer and her book at the World of Ink Author/Book Tour, visit http://tinyurl.com/carfswr