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Letters from HomeLetters From Home is a bit of a departure from the books we’ve featured in the past but it’s special for so many reasons that we had to share.

You see,Letters From Home would never have been written if not for the BRCA-1 gene. Andrea Reiser, co-author of the book along with her husband David, learned that she carried the breast cancer gene after losing her mother to the disease and after seeing her younger sister undergo treatments to remove a (thankfully) microscopic tumor.

Knowing how devastating a cancer diagnosis could potentially be, Andrea made the courageous decision to undergo a prophylactic mastectomy in 2007—which changed her family’s lives forever.

As she emerged from surgery, Andrea writes, she could practically see the headline “Life Is Short—Choose to Live the Life You Want” flashing before her in bright lights. For the first time, she truly understood and appreciated just how short and precious life is—and also for the first time, she dared to ask herself honestly if her own life looked the she really wanted it to.

Andrea shared her revelation with her family, and within three months, the entire crew—Andrea, David, and their four school-age sons—relocated to a new community that offered a variety of professional, social, cultural, and educational opportunities they had long wished for. And they haven’t looked back since.

In fact, the many rewards they’ve reaped from taking this initial risk inspired Andrea and David to writeLetters From Home. They wanted to leave a record of their values systems as a legacy for their children, and also do what they could to point others in the right direction for building successful, fulfilled lives.

Written in the form of letters to the authors’ four sons, Letters from Home explores fifteen basic American virtues. Each chapter includes profiles of exceptional “real people” who truly walk the talk. The virtues covered in this book include:

Reading Letters From Home, I couldn’t help but think of all the young nieces and nephews in my life, how I will share these lessons with them, and how much these lessons illustrate the people I believe they will become. I also couldn’t help but see so many of the members of our community, volunteers, and others who I have met in my role with FORCE. I was reminded of all of the women and families, like the Reisers, who have taken adversity, faced it head on, focused on the positives even in the hardest times, and then given back—by talking with and helping others face their own struggles.

Letters From Home is available at bookstores and online at Amazon.com and BarnesAndNoble.com. Also check out the recently launched ReiserMedia.com for a fantastic blog by Andrea.

P.S. The Reisers are proud to donate 100% of royalties from Letters From Home to FORCE, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and Share Our Strength.