When Caoimhe May, from Corofin, Co Galway, was barely nine years old she set her sights on writing, galvanised by the ordeal of her cousin, Aoife, who was in hospital with leukaemia.
Three years on, the book she penned, A Trip To The Hospital, has been rewritten and illustrated by her for a more mature audience and has been published by the online publisher Emu Ink.
It was officially launched yesterday in the Galway Education Centre — a book launch that more seasoned writers can only dream of.
“I wrote this book as I wanted people to know the hospital isn’t really a bad place and that they should stop worrying,” she says.
Half the profits will go to Barretstown, a not-for-profit camp for children with cancer and other serious illnesses in Ballymore Eustace, Co Kildare. The other 50% will go to Caoimhe May’s own college fund. Unlike most 12-year-olds, she is thinking ahead.
“What I am hoping, is this book will help out children who are in hospital and don’t know what to expect; as well as the charity that was so good to my cousin when she was ill. I also hope it helps to get me into college so I can write more books and help more people.”
Emu Ink founder Emer Cleary said: A Trip To The Hospital is a special book, written by a very special girl. Like all good writing it comes from the heart and the intentions for which it came about are as impressive as they are heartfelt.
“It’s a beautiful book and a lovely story, which showcases the writing and illustrating talents of a kind-hearted young girl.”
Like a typical Irish mammy, Caoimhe May’s mother Anna, is bursting with pride in her offspring. “I am very proud of her,” she says. “She wrote it when she was nine and it was put away in her room for two years. I had a look at it last September and felt it deserved a wider audience.”
The book tracks the tale of Aoife, who was diagnosed with cancer and but also reflects Caoimhe May’s own experience in hospital when she broke her arm.
’A Trip To The Hospital is available at www.emuink.ie