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Sixtyfive Roses    by Heather Summerhayes Cariou order for
Sixtyfive Roses
by Heather Summerhayes Cariou
Order:  USA  Can
McArthur, 2008 (2008)
* *   Reviewed by Lori Waddington

In 1958, when Pam Summerhayes was four years old, she was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis. She was given a prognosis of anywhere from six months to six years of life. But Pam defied the odds and lived for twenty-six years until her death in 1980. When Pam was on her deathbed, she begged her older sister Heather to write their story. SixtyFive Roses (four-year-old Pam's pronunciation of her disease) is not only Pam's story, but Heather's as well.

Heather Summerhayes Cariou goes back to the very beginning, remembering the wonderful times she had with her sister. The two of them loved nothing better than making each other laugh, to the point where they would fall on the floor crying. Heather remembers how distraught she was upon first hearing Pam's prognosis, praying fervently 'please don't let my Pammy die.' Heather also tries to explain what it was like to feel pushed aside as her parents focused most of their attention on Pam, while Heather's resentment became so severe that she began to throw daily temper tantrums.

Cariou writes of her parents' dedication to the family, as her father worked extremely hard to provide for the girls and their two brothers, and her mother cleaned their house until it shone. In addition to all of this, her parents worked tirelessly to promote awareness of Cystic Fibrosis, becoming founders of the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Sixty-Five Roses is more than just a tribute to Pam Summerhayes' short yet determined life. It is the story of a family who managed to persevere through bad times while celebrating the good, and of the bond between two sisters whose love will move you to tears.

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