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Books to Borrow: The Claysburg Public Library Recommends

Finding Chika by Mitch Albom


September 10, 2020

Book cover provided

The Williamsburg Public Library recommends "Finding Chika" by Mitch Albom.

Chika was born Jan. 9, 2010, in a small two-room cinder block house in Haiti. She was the third child to her mother and her mother said, the last. However, her mother did give birth to one more child but she died in childbirth.

Chika lived for a short while with her godmother. Her other siblings went to other relatives. After a while, the godmother brought Chika to Have Faith Haiti Orphanage.

Mitch Albom became involved with the orphanage through an elder minister who could no longer continue to support it. Mitch had the connections to help so he took over. Every month he would fly to Haiti from Michigan. He was a sportswriter by profession. He married his wife, Janine, in his late thirties. He decided he wanted some time as a couple before having children. As it happened, he waited too late. They were unable to have children. Ironically he thought children would hinder his work and yet he became very involved with many children in Haiti.

Chika was a very special child. She was always cheerful and full of wonder. One day they noticed that her eye was drooping and her leg dragged. They took her to the one MRI in all of Haiti. They found a tumor on her brain. It was Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), a childhood cancer. No one in Haiti could help her.

Mitch took her home to the US to get her medical treatment. She had many MRI's and chemotherapies. They hoped that she would be the first to survive this incurable brain disease. They traveled the world, sought non-conventional treatments and spoke with doctors about new treatments. Chika cheerfully fought through months of painful treatments. She died April 7, 2017.

The book is a compassionate recollection of the time Mitch and Janine spent with Chika. It is about the lessons he learned from having found Chika.


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