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Be Inspired: Interview with Sandra Roe

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DB creator of the Adventures of The Princess book series

You write books to support children battling cancer. Where did the idea come from?

The Princess in the story is me. I moved to Hong Kong to marry my Prince Charming in 2005, then in 2008 I was diagnosed with brain cancer – CNS Lymphoma. I was 39 years old. I had eight cycles of chemotherapy over six months. My husband David took incredible care of me; his nickname for me is The Princess. After my treatment, I wrote 15 books about funny things that occurred during my treatment. I wrote my books to help children and their parents manage the experience better, by making them laugh.

Hence the title of your first book, The Farting Princess.

Yes. I first had cancer when I was 14-years old, so I can relate from a child’s perspective as well as from an adult’s. Laughter is the best medicine when you’re sick… and when you have chemotherapy, there’s a lot of farting going on! When the Prince came to the hospital, The Princess farted even more! And they were stinky and smelly, which made The Princess laugh her head off. My husband could smell the farts, but I couldn’t!

How do children react to your books?

The reactions are priceless. When I read my books, for example at the Elf Reading Day in Australia, I ask the children to make farting sounds whenever they hear the word fart or farting. They use their hands to create the farting sounds as well as their armpits. I am planning to go into local hospitals to read my books to the children undergoing treatment, and also into schools. Kids benefit by laughing as it is great for the immune system. I will wear one of The Princess’ dresses and a tiara.

And the books have spawned a mini franchise?

Three of the 15 books are now available. There are also prints and greeting cards of the illustrations in the books, and of course my teddy bear, Mr Snuggles, who came with me to the hospital and who is in some of the books.

There’s a charity angle too?

I’m giving 50% of the net profits to cancer prevention, research and cure. If people also choose to make a donation, 100% of that is donated. I’ve just started selling my books and other merchandise, so I’m researching how best to utilise the 50%. As an example, if someone does not have insurance or it runs out like ours did, I would like to be able to pay directly for their treatment. My husband and I are in the process of starting our own foundation, The Roes Giving Foundation, to support our goal of creating a world without cancer.

How are you getting the word out?

Right now, you can buy my books at Bookazine, and on my website and Facebook page. I am working on getting everything on Amazon and Etsy. I had a table at the Discovery Bay Sunday Market in March and aim to have one in December. It fills my heart with joy to be able to utilise what we experienced to help others.

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