Writing about brave heroes and evil villains comes easily for Piper, who is fighting a benign brain tumor at 14 years old.
“Piper has an acoustic neuroma on the right side of her brain that was the size of a tennis ball at the time she was diagnosed,” said her mom, Marina.
“She’s had two surgeries where doctors removed the hearing and balance component of her right ear, and it’s affected mobility on the right side of her face and functions like being able to write and draw.”
This adjustment was devastating for Piper, who is a natural writer and a talented artist.
“Piper’s condition is something she will have to live with forever, and she began to have some very deep and serious thoughts about what her future holds,” said her dad, Nick. “During the worst and darkest time of our lives, Make-A-Wish Arizona came in to restore our hope and showed that there is so much good in the world.”
Piper’s eyes lit up when she discovered her wish to publish a book was possible.
“I’ve wanted to be an author for a really long time and I’ve been working on the idea for this book since I was in sixth grade,” said Piper. “I love dystopian styles and my novel is about four teenagers who pretty much save the world.”
Instead of letting her medical challenges define her, Piper draws from the adversity she’s faced in her own life to create the characters in her first novel, Paradox.
“There’s a character named Z who is inspired by my brother, he’s like the really extreme version of him. Then, I created a character named Blossom, who kind of represents a version of myself that I would want to be like,” she continued.
To help Piper with her writing, Make-A-Wish Arizona enlisted the help of Dr. James Blasingame – Dr. B for short - a creative writing professor with 40-years’ experience and a focus in Young Adult literature at Arizona State University.
“Piper was a little nervous both to have someone critique her work and to be meeting with a college professor, but within moments he had her at ease and into a really great conversation,” said Nick. “He was so supportive in an authentic way that really boosted Piper up and he’s been meeting with her once a week to help her with her story.”
“It’s really fun writing and working with him to edit my story and I like hearing what someone else has to say about my ideas,” said Piper.
Throughout the past few months, Piper’s parents have observed a huge change in her attitude and energy level because of her wish.
“This has given her purpose and hope in a way that’s been all positive and I think her wish has been one of the biggest components of her recovery so far,” said Nick.
“It’s been a supplement to her therapy and really helped her emotional state,” said Marina. “It’s given her something to focus on instead of the tough news we often get from doctors and it’s truly helped her heal.”
In addition to the book itself, Piper has a reveal party and book signing planned at the Poisoned Pen Bookstore for her family and friends.
“I hope it will be a book that teenagers can really relate to and I think it’s something that can help boost my confidence as well,” said Piper.
“So many people donated their time and energy so Piper’s wish could be possible, and I think a wish really makes a difference in a child’s recovery and how they view their illness,” Marina continued. “Make-A-Wish Arizona took Piper’s vision and turned it into something that we could never have imagined in our wildest dreams."