I’ve asked some of my favorite authors and bloggers to write about their favorite book club moments. During the course of the next four months, I’ll be sharing these with you. (Hope you had a chance to read Kelly O’Connor McNees‘ posting from last Friday!)

Of course, it’s really not fair to ask of others something I’m not willing to do myself. Then again, I could talk on and on about my favorite book club moments. After traveling 30,000 miles visiting with readers, you bet there’s not just one!

But something special happened last week and I wanted to share this with you first.

I met Melissa Hagen Klug at the Books on the Nightstand Retreat in Vermont last April, an amazing weekend in and of itself and much more about that later. It deserves an entire post of its own.

Melissa loves Southern lit. OK, I liked her from the start. And she’s the Director of Marketing for Glatfelter a company that makes the paper for the books we read. What a perfect girl!

Last week I was traveling and did not notice this Facebook post right away. Needless to say, I was so touched when I saw that she and her wonderful co-workers (many of whom came to Vermont!) had participated in the AVON Walk for Breast Cancer in San Francisco. Their team was aptly called the Paper Girls Wear Pink, and they had named my daughters as one of the reasons they walked. I cried.

Melissa and the Paper Girls walk for my girls

My oldest daughter, Claudia, inherited a mutated BRCA 1 gene and underwent a prophylactic mastectomy with reconstruction in January. Claudia looks and feels great, and I am one very proud mama! Claudia has been a role model for many women of all ages, particularly her younger sisters. (for more about Claudia’s journey, check out her blog.)

Josephine, Alice and Claudia

We don’t know yet if my younger two daughters carry the same mutation. If they do, they will have their sister to look to for strength. And they will know that they are supported and loved by people like Melissa and her Paper Girl friends.

Melissa and all the Paper Girls Wear Pink and many others like them are the true blessings in our lives since we lost my husband’s mother to ovarian cancer and first learned of this genetic mutation. And it is through words, through books, that Melissa and I found one another and a very special friendship began.

Paper Girls Wear Pink

I am convinced more than ever that books do have the power to heal.

And please visit the Paper Girls Wear Pink web page if you’d like to learn more about their walk and the opportunity to give!

Posted July 12, 2011 at 12:49 pm · 2 comments · Leave a Comment


  1. Suzanne, July 12th, 2011, 8:17 pm

    What an amazing and inspirational story.
  2. Ann Kingman, July 13th, 2011, 6:10 pm

    Susan, what beautiful daughters you have! Claudia and every other woman deserve a long and healthy life, and I'm so thankful that there are wonderful people like Melissa and her Paper Girls that sacrifice their time, money and energy to make a difference. I'm very touched by this post, and happy that BOTNS had a little tiny part in the story.

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Susan Gregg Gilmore