‘Love, Nils’ is the true story of a teenage boy battling cancer, and the tender love and bond of trust that grew between him and his mother. It is a profoundly moving and powerful memoir with an important message of hope for all carers struggling to find help. Over the two years it has taken Lesli to write this book she has gradually learned how to heal herself and now this has become a way for her to help others.
The book charts the 18 months Lesli spent caring for her beloved son following his devastating diagnosis. Nils, a twin, was just 13 when he fell ill – a gorgeous, athletic, livewire of a boy who came down with a cold that turned out to be Stage 4 cancer. He was treated first in Singapore and then the US, and he was cured of cancer—nothing short of a miracle. Tragically, however, the stem-cell transplant he received (an imperfect match) created complications that went on to claim his young life.
‘Love Nils’ is about the love and the intimate connections forged in an often chaotic, impersonal world. It’s about the impact one sick boy can have on so many – including President Obama and Bear Grylls. It sings with the resilience of the human spirit, with the themes of hope and healing – both the physical and emotional kind. And there is humour too— incredible, perhaps, given the appalling adversity faced by the book’s two protagonists. Frustration and rage are also recurrent themes, as Nils—bed-bound and coming-of-age—is pumped with personality-altering drugs and fights the confinement and pain he’s forced to endure. Yet even in his darkest hour, Nils is moved to reach out to children he perceives to be suffering more than him
With searing honesty, Lesli offers guidance for others navigating complex, often befuddling medical systems. She explains how the psychological welfare of young patients is just as important as their physical welfare and how this can often be overlooked. She offers practical tips on how to manage the pain, fear and emotional fall out of long-term illness holistically.
Over the two years it has taken Lesli to write this book she has gradually learned how to heal herself and now this has become a way for her to help others. It is Lesli’s hope that young patients and their parents will reach for this book to better understand the journey they are on, and to discover new ways to keep themselves and their friendships strong.
Last but not least, Love, Nils is a story about mending a broken heart after the death of a beloved child. For families who have lost a child to illness, the book aims to extend a ray of understanding and hope during a time of unfathomable darkness.