“Shark Attack”

A teen, a community, and a rock star respond
August 1, 2008

WEST BLOOMFIELD, MI – As a child, Alexandra (Alex) Graham never contracted the typical childhood illnesses. She had always been the epitome of health, but that was about to change and change dramatically. One early fall day Alex came home from the mall complaining of pain in her knee. Three months later, at the age of 16, she was diagnosed with bone cancer. Her world and the world of those she loved would never be the same. Co-author H. Thomas Saylor draws a parallel between the swift and unexpected attack of a shark and the devastating onset of a life-threatening illness. You or someone you love will one day be faced with a life changing illness, disability or loss. How you respond holds the potential to open doors for yourself and for others.

When One Door Closes shows us the powerful influence one person can unleash in the face of tragedy. Alex’s parents Susie and Bill along with family, friends, medical experts, and caregivers describe how this teenager opened doors and made a difference in their lives. Among those contributing to the account is rock star Ed Robertson of the Barenaked Ladies. Along the journey, excerpts from Alex’s journal reveal her feelings as she endures chemotherapy
and amputation of a leg. Her entries describe her dreams and show that she is still a young girl with vanities and aspirations.

During her struggle, Alex asked the Make-A-Wish Foundation to grant a unique and selfless wish. She wanted to share an important message. Alex became the driving force behind a public service announcement which features the music of Bette Midler’s “Wind Beneath My Wings.” In her cancer awareness message, Alex beseeches the public to treat those who might “look a little different” with respect and a smile.

When One Door Closes describes constructive ways to deal with adversity and loss. Through Alex’s story readers will discover ways to confront adversity, avoid
needless guilt, live life with meaning, and bring comfort and inspiration to others.

Praise for When One Door Closes
“In less than two years, she (Alex) created a legacy not only for her loved ones, but for cancer sufferers everywhere. …This book is inspiring for anyone faced with the sudden illness of a loved one.”
ForeWord Magazine

“A moving story of a brave girl who confronted tragedy not by asking, ‘Why me?’ but by asking, ‘What can I do with this to help others?'”
Harold Kushner, author, When Bad Things Happen to Good People

“When One Door Closes is Alex’s story. Sometimes a young person is an Old Soul – someone whose wisdom, compassion, capacity for love, and courage could not possibly be learned in the course of their short lifetime. To meet someone like this is to confront Mystery – and be blessed by it.”
Rachel Naomi Remen, M. D., author, Kitchen Table Wisdom

” … Alex struck me as such an incredibly positive person. Her story and her wish are remarkable.”
Ed Robertson, singer, songwriter and musician, Barenaked Ladies

About Susie and Bill Graham and H. Thomas Saylor
Susie and Bill Graham reside in West Bloomfield, Michigan and continue their active support of charity and community efforts. They have dedicated When One Door Closes to the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the American Cancer Society. Co-author H. Thomas Saylor spent more than 30 years as a producer and manager of communications for Fortune 500 companies. He now spends his time as a writer and independent consultant.

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