More About the Author
Jeni Stepanek, Ph.D., is the mother of the late NY Times bestselling child poet and peacemaker, Mattie J.T. Stepanek, and the mother of three other children, Katie, Stevie, and Jamie, who also died due to a rare and fatal neuromuscular disease. Jeni was diagnosed with the adult onset form of the condition only after the births of all four of her children. Her son, Mattie, created six bestselling books of poetry, and one bestselling collection of peace essays. A published author or editor of numerous books, articles, and chapters, Jeni is also a noted and award-winning motivational speaker on topics ranging from disability and collaboration to bereavement and spirituality. She earned her doctoral degree in early childhood special education from the University of Maryland, College Park. Jeni, who relies on a power wheelchair for mobility and a ventilator for breathing support, serves as the Chair of the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation, a National Vice President for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and a Governor for the We Are Family Foundation. Her new book, "Messenger," is the first publication to offer the true story of her son's life, who "was as witty as he was wise." According to Jeni, "Messenger is not a sad story about a child's death, but an inspiring story of young man's life and his very real and ongoing message of hope and peace." She lives in Rockville, Maryland, near the 26 acre Mattie J.T. Stepanek Park and Peace Garden, and still travels with Mattie's service dog, Micah. When she grows up, Jeni wants to be a "beach chair philosopher."
For more information, visit www.mattieonline.com.