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Saving Henry: A Mother's Journey Hardcover – Bargain Price, March 2, 2010

4.9 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, March 2, 2010
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The subtitle shorthands Strongin’s ongoing battle with her baby Henry’s rare and fatal disease, Fanconi anemia. In 1996, when Henry was six months old, she learned she was pregnant and also her preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), the result of a procedure “combining in vitro fertilization with genetic testing conducted prior to embryo transfer.” PGD could identify and implant an artificially conceived embryo whose umbilical cord blood, collected at birth, and stem cells, transplanted to Henry, could cure Henry’s disease. Laurie and husband Allen were the pioneer PGD couple, unsupported by precedents, support groups, ethical guidelines, or regulations of any sort. Shortly after Jack was born healthy, Mark Hughes, an essential medical-team member, was charged with violating the newly established federal ban on stem cell research, and his previous work was lost. Months passed. Henry’s blood counts fell. Finally, Hughes found work “absent the government’s stranglehold.” Strongin smoothly integrates medical information into this compelling tale of fear, helplessness, frustration, and unflagging love for a beautiful child’s spirit. Sure to inspire many readers. --Whitney Scott


"Saving Henry is a marvelously-told tale of love triumphant. Parents often say they would do anything for their children. This is the story of a couple that actually did. Laurie Strongin, a woman of true gifts, will break your heart, and fill you with joy. This is an astonishingly good book by a mother who understands that in the battle between love and death, it is love that always wins."—Jeffrey Goldberg, National Correspondent, The Atlantic

"Any mother and any father will immediately understand why Laurie Strongin did what she did. As a doctor I know that all the science being developed, all the technology being perfected, all the studies in the medical journals, in the end, are about people and families, like Strongin's family.
Strongin has a gift for telling a complex medical story as an unfolding family narrative a family that in so many ways is my family, your family, anybody's family. Any of us in today's world could find ourselves facing the difficult and challenging set of decisions this family had to make. Strongin's story is a truthful and honest roadmap we may want to follow."—Dr. Ranit Mishori, Contributing Health Editor, Parade Magazine; Professor, Georgetown University School of Medicine

"There's a reason Saving Henry rings with so much truth: the author, Laurie Strongin, lived every word of it. It's her story, and her sons' and her husband's a vivid, beautifully rendered and almost painfully honest account of a journey none of them wanted to take, but could not avoid, thanks to a bad throw of the genetic dice. When their first boy, Henry, is born with a rare and always fatal disease, Strongin, who till that point had lived a rather charmed life, sets out to save her son. Trusting in science, holding to hope, and relying on love, she and her family find themselves at the very cutting edge of medical technology uncharted territory where the legal and ethical rules were still largely unwritten. She, her husband Allen, and especially little Henry, become pioneers in a landscape of complex technological procedures that offer hope but also bring pain physical pain, and, quite often, the pain of disappointment. And yet they keep trying.
The driving force of Saving Henry is this tale of a family that will not quit, that cannot see a little boy die not a little boy so full of the life force that even the doctors trying to save him hang photos of Henry in their labs and in their homes as a reminder of what life is really all about. Strongin sketches Henry with a mother's eye and with a mother's love. Because that is what this true story is truly about--a love that does not die when, even when, at the end, Henry dies--all efforts to save him having been tried and failed. For it's the "having tried" that gets the family through that final poignant day. It's the "having tried" that made Henry's case one doctors would later study to understand better how to improve their procedures to help other children. And it's the "having tried," finally, that compelled Strongin to write this book, so that others will remember that there are some struggles that are never worth giving up."—John Donvan, ABC News Correspondent

"How do you make beauty and meaning out of unimaginable sorrow? Saving Henry is a stirring account of struggle, love, and loss that manages to be both honest and inspiring."—Rabbi David Wolpe, author, Making Loss Matter and Why Faith Matters

"I first met Laurie Strongin when I wrote about her remarkable son Henry for the New York Times. But you can't meet the Strongin-Goldberg family and not come to see them as dear friends. You can't read their story without coming to love them, either. It's an important and newsworthy story, yes, a testament to how the debate over medical technology and stem cell research is not just an academic argument, but also a searingly personal one. Mostly, though, it's an intimate love story. We should all learn from Henry what his family has learned--to live well and laugh hard."—Lisa Belkin, writer, New York Times --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • Age Range: 18 and up
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion; 1 edition (March 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401323561
  • ASIN: B003XU7VYW
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,682,616 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Laurie Strongin, Henry Strongin Goldberg's mom and author of Saving Henry, is the Founder and Executive Director of Hope for Henry Foundation.

Prior to joining Hope for Henry, Laurie was Senior Director of Wealth Creation at the Fannie Mae Foundation, the largest foundation in the country devoted to affordable housing and the revitalization of communities. Her career in housing began when she served as Deputy National Coordinator for Neighborhood Reinvestment's NeighborWorks Campaign for Home Ownership and as head of marketing for the Neighborhood Reinvestment Training Institute.

In addition to her work in the affordable housing field and as Executive Director of Hope for Henry Foundation, Laurie acts as a family advocate in the ongoing national discussion about ethics and genetics. She has participated as a panelist and guest lecturer in a range of forums from the Johns Hopkins Genetics and Public Policy Center to Georgetown University's Kennedy School of Ethics on the science of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis and its use to preserve families. She has also served as family representative to the University of Minnesota Interdisciplinary Working Group on Ethics and Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis. She published an op-ed in the Washington Post in the summer of 2006, on stem cell research titled "Vetoing Henry."

Laurie appears on a weekly radio show "Women Talk" broadcast on Clear Channel stations throughout the Washington metropolitan area.

Laurie's work with Hope for Henry Foundation has been recognized by the local Washington, DC ABC television affiliate. She received a 2005 WJLA-TV Toyota Tribute to Working Women Award "honoring outstanding individuals who make our community a better place in which to live."

Laurie lives with her husband Allen Goldberg and sons Jack and Joe in Washington, DC.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Saving Henry is a beautifully written, heartfelt tribute to an amazing child and his equally inspiring mother. The love that Laurie and Allen have for Henry is apparent from the moment he is born and even though they face numerous challenges, we never lose sight of the incredible bond between these loving parents and the child they so desperately want to save. Intermingled with inspiring stories about Henry's life and how well he lived, are the heart breaking medical failures that eventually lead to his untimely death. Even though he faces a painful terminal illness, Henry's life is filled with joy and love and happiness. Reading this book, although sad and painful at times, makes us appreciate the little things in life we so often take for granted. It shows us that a mother's love has no limits, even when our bodies do. We learn that superheroes come in all shapes and sizes, even brave little boys. And most importantly, it teaches us to value every day we have with the people we love and inspires us to truly "live well and laugh hard."
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Format: Hardcover
Boy, was I not going to read this book. Who wants additional pain; there's enough sadness? But I heard the author, Laurie Strongin, do a presentation and she was just so positive and appealing and smart that I really enjoyed her, even with a tear or two rolling down my cheek. I bought the book but still thought I wouldn't read it. But then I did, and I am so glad I did.

It reads like a mystery that you know the end of, but still need to find out how to get there.
It reads like an incredible love story that, again, you know has a sad ending, but was so worth it all the way.
It reads like a family chronicle of strength and support in a very Jewish way, for me.
It reads like an adventure story filled with Funland, Disney, Pringles, M&M's, and lots of ice cream.
It completely reads like a true hero story, and while I know it's Henry, it is so so Laurie. She keeps marveling at his courage, his attitude, his positivity, and while I know kids come with their own little packaged personalities, there is nurture involved, and he gets so much of his approach to life from her. That is clear as day.

I also learned a ton in a short time about how politics (not the boring kind) affects our very lives, and I mean that as our ability to actually stay alive. You can't read this without shaking your fist at the misconceptions that exist about stem cells and their origin.

It's not maudlin. I did not cry reading it. I was too interested. Strongin doesn't try to pull our heartstrings, but they are pulled nevertheless. I cried later, digesting it. For her loss, for all of our loss. For gratitude. Since my mom got sick with 4th stage lung cancer last year, we have been focusing on living each day the way Laurie talks about it.
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Format: Hardcover
Saving Henry is a must read. It is a reminder of what is really important in life, what others deal with every day and how important it is to live every day to the fullest with our families. I appreciate Laurie (and her husband Allen) sharing so much of their lives for all of us to benefit.
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Format: Hardcover
Saving Henry is the powerful, heartfelt and beautifully written account of a remarkable young boy and his equally exceptional family as they fight his disease with love, laughter and by pushing the limits of scientific research and practice. It is through getting to know Henry, that we see the very real face of the over politicized stem cell debate. Laurie and Allen paved the way for broader genetic testing and the use of PGD that saves lives today. This is a story about dealing with adversity- it reminds us that we too will all face adversity in our lives at some point. We don't know what it will look like but we can only hope that we too will have the strength, bravery and ability to find love, joy and laughter in the most difficult and unimaginable circumstances that come our way. Reading this book might bring some tears but it will bring equal amounts of inspiration and dedication to approach life with courage, perspective and joy.
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Format: Hardcover
In Saving Henry, Laurie Strongin has written a beautiful and loving account of her family's struggle to save her son Henry from a devastating and ultimately fatal illness. While Laurie and her husband Allen embarked on a courageous 7-year journey through the frontiers of genetic research and medicine to save their son, they managed to celebrate Henry's life each day and to create an atmosphere for him and their entire family in which laughter, affection and bountiful love reigned. Strongin's writing conveys emotion, scientific detail and personal anecdotes in a manner that is vivid, gripping and accessible. By chronicling Henry's battle against Fanconi anemia, Strongin also serves as an extremely effective advocate for stem cell research and its promise to save lives. The real hero of this memoir is Henry. I learned a lot from him; that no matter what, it is important to laugh, to wonder, to savor the moment and (most of all) to love. Henry's humor, his strength,his effervescent boyishness and his courage all served to protect his family, his friends and the doctors who treated him. Henry was a super hero.
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