only one of me, michelle robinson, lisa wells, tim budgen, cataline echeverri, graffeg

Picture book about terminal illness publishes in record time

Graffeg are to publish the rhyming picture book Only One of Me, written by best-selling author Michelle Robinson with her friend and mum-of-two Lisa Wells (32), who has been diagnosed with terminal bowel and liver cancer and told she has only months to live.

Only One of Me aims to help families prepare for the loss of a parent and also celebrate the unwavering strength of parental love. Two versions of the book, one for mothers and one for fathers (both with the same text) publish on 12 October, work only having begun at the beginning of August. The speedy turnaround means Lisa will be able to share the books with her daughters, Ava-Lily (5) and Saffia (10 months), during her lifetime.

Like Lisa herself, the books brim with positivity, warmth and love, offering comfort and reassurance to dying parents and the children they must leave behind. The moving text has been sensitively illustrated by Catalina Echeverri (Mum version) and Tim Budgen (Dad version). Both artists waived any fees and, along with Lisa and Michelle, will be donating their royalties to charities We Hear You (WHY) and Mummy’s Star. Funds raised from the project’s JustGiving page will be going directly into distributing copies of the book to bereavement charities. Graffeg will be launching the website this month with further details about the book.

Lisa wells, lisa's army, only one of me, graffeg, michelle robinson

Lisa wells, lisa's army, only one of me, graffeg, michelle robinson

Mummy’s Star support women diagnosed with cancer during pregnancy and beyond. According to founder Pete Wallroth, ‘These are the conversations that can be so difficult, yet can be made smoother for parents with a book like this as an aid, especially when it comes from someone who knows it first hand.’

We Hear You (WHY) provides free professional counselling to anyone affected or bereaved by cancer or other life-threatening conditions. Gemma Wilkes, Fundraising & Communications Manager at We Hear You, says: ‘It is always incredibly difficult when dealing with a terminal diagnosis particularly when there are children to consider. Only One of Me offers a very sensitive way to have some of these conversations, as well as expressing a parent’s unconditional love.’

Michelle Robinson says: ‘Death isn’t a nice thing to think or talk about, but for families like Lisa’s there’s no getting away from it. Some of us will find ourselves in this position one day. I hope it’s not me, I hope it’s not you and I really wish it wasn’t Lisa.

‘We’re so happy Only One of Me will be published in time for Lisa to hold a copy in her hands and share it with her family. It’s Lisa’s wish that the resulting books will help other families facing bereavement long into the future, bringing them comfort and raising funds for her favourite charities.’

Dr Konrad Jacobs, Consultant Clinical Child Psychologist, Oxford University Hospitals says: ‘Talking to children about a terminal illness is one of the hardest things any parent can be faced with. This unique and extraordinary book with its thoughtful text, pleasing rhyme and delightful drawings will hopefully help parents with this task.’

Only One of Me publishes on 12 October 2018