CSULB Student Writes Children’s Book for Cancer Patients

By: 
Erika Johnson
GIOVANNA QUEVEDO, right, is the author of “A Kid’s Guide to Radiation Therapy, with staff member from Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital, where they have copies of her book.

Radiation therapy has just gotten easier to understand with this bilingual book explaining the once intricate process to something everyone can understand.

 Giovanna Quevedo, Cal State Long Beach student and Girl Scout Ambassador, wrote “A Kid’s Guide to Radiation Therapy” while keepingt in mind her mom and the children that were trying to understand the grueling process of it all.

“There were a lot of resources for adults and young adults but not many for children,” Giovanna said. “I wanted to be able to fill that gap.”

In 2019, Giovanna’s mom, Theresa Quevedo, was diagnosed with breast cancer that served as the extra motivation she needed to write her book.

She used her mom’s experience to expand her knowledge on radiation therapy and the details of it. She shadowed radiation therapists and radiation nurses at the hospital while they gave her mother treatment.

Giovanna worked alongside child life specialists and radiation therapists at Miller Children’s Hospital. While her mom was receiving her treatment at City of Hope South Bay Hospital, she was able to speak with her radiation oncologist.

“I thought it was really amazing they had that technology, even though none of it made sense to me at the time,” Giovanna said.

As Giovanna gathered her information for her book, the next step in finding an illustrator proved to be a tough job.

“I knew that I wanted to have illustrations that can comfort the patient and to really show them instead of just telling them,” Giovanna said.

At first, Giovanna had the idea of having a patient do the illustrations and tried to find one through the cancer club at her school. She figured it would be best to find somebody that went through radiation therapy to better capture the experience.

However, finding an illustrator through the cancer club was unsuccessful and Giovanna turned to the Quest Ambassadors Club at Millikan high school and came across Nala Haley to be her illustrator.

As Giovanna worked on her book, Theresa aided her by being a guide and helped her put her research into the correct order.

Giovanna had the help of both her parents with putting together the book. Her mom with her journey of radiation therapy and her dad helped her translate the book into Spanish.

“It was my dad’s first language so I really worked with him to get it into translation,” Giovanna said.

On top of her dad helping her translate her book, Giovanna also had the help of her former high school Spanish teacher. Both her former Spanish teacher and father were able to proofread her bilingual book.

The whole experience has given Giovanna the fulfillment of wanting to give back to her community and paved the way on her journey to helping people.

Her main goal for this book is to provide an understanding of what goes on during radiation therapy and bring a feeling of comfort in knowing that these patients are not alone.

“Having gone through radiation therapy myself, it would have been kind of nice to have something like this for me,” Theresa said. “Because I didn’t have anything to read and I just went and you learn as you go.”

Another plus to the experience was the closeness she gained with her mom.

While Theresa went through her journey, Giovanna was right by her side not only absorbing all the information during her appointments but also tending to her and making her comfortable.

“She really was great,” Theresa said. “I told her that she was going to make a great doctor someday.”

So far, “A Kid’s Guide to Radiation Therapy”, has been distributed to Miller Children’s Hospital, University of Florida Hospital, and Children’s Hospital of Orange County. There are multiple non-profit organizations that have her book accessible to all online.

To learn more information about her book, you can visit her website at https://akidsguide.wixsite.com/radiation.

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