Books

Book by Dorian Murray, 8-year-old cancer victim, to be published

Dorian Murray relaxed with his mom, Melissa, at their home in Westerly, R.I. in January.

Grace White/The Westerly Sun via AP

Dorian Murray relaxed with his mom, Melissa, at their home in Westerly, R.I. in January.

Dorian Murray dreamed of being famous. And the 8-year-old saw his wish come true before losing his battle earlier this month with alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of pediatric cancer.

It appears that Dorian’s fame may last a while longer.

Advertisement

Days before the Rhode Island boy passed, he was given a digital copy of “Leaving a Mark,” a children’s book about cancer he and Boston-area author Nicole DeRosa Cannella raced to finish. It is a project Cannella and Dorian’s family hope will give comfort to other young cancer patients and fund efforts to fight the disease.

“I can’t minimize the providential aspect of this,” said Cannella, 41. “Within six weeks, we had a book that was written, edited, pitched, accepted, illustrated, edited again, and then done so that this little boy could hold it in his hands before he died.”

Get The Weekender in your inbox:
The Globe's top picks for what to see and do each weekend, in Boston and beyond.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

Oregon-based Lampion Press made finishing the book a priority and provided a digital copy to Dorian on Feb. 27. Physical copies aredue out next month.

The book, illustrated free of charge by “Veggietales” story artist Tim Hodge, offers rhyming words of wisdom and hope to children with cancer, along with their families. “Cancer may have left its mark through needles, bumps, and bruises; but I will leave my mark on Earth in whatever way God chooses,” one line reads.

Cannella, who previously published bullying-centric children’s book “The Ribbit Exhibit,” learned of Dorian’s story online after it began trending with the Facebook tag #DStrong. Moved by his story, she was inspired to update an unfinished manuscript about cancer, which she started after seeing multiple family members, including her sister, endure treatments for various forms of the disease.

The book’s cover.

Advertisement

After connecting with Dorian and his mother, Melissa Murray, she earned their trust and involvement. Hodge, whom Cannella had befriended while living and working in Nashville, was also sent a copy of the manuscript and quickly signed on.

“I had my reservations because I didn’t know this woman from Eve,” Murray recalled. “But she came and read the book, and it touched me.”

Dorian’s mother Melissa Murray (right) and co-author Nicole DeRosa Cannella held the book together.

Dorian’s mother Melissa Murray (right) and co-author Nicole DeRosa Cannella held the book together.

With Dorian and Melissa’s help, Cannella rewrote and edited parts of “Leaving a Mark” to better reflect their experience. When Dorian was asked what advice he’d give to other children with cancer, Murray said her son replied, “ ‘That’s a pretty serious question — I have to think about this.’ ” That maturity, she said, was both beyond his eight years and very much in his character.

Murray said she hopes the book can have a “powerful impact” on other patients. “I’m excited to give something to other families that are going through this diagnosis, this journey, and hopefully ease it for them,” she said.

A page from the book.

Earlier this year, Dorian’s story went viral, and photos began popping up on social media of signs reading #DStrong from Australia, Brazil, Germany, France, Syria, and notably China, where Dorian once told his father, Chris, that he’d like to “be famous.” Patriots player Rob Gronkowski, talk show personality Conan O’Brien, and singer Justin Bieber rank among the many celebrities who consequently reached out, communicating their admiration and well wishes.

All proceeds from sales of “Leaving a Mark” will go to the newly-established Dorian J. Murray Foundation and other pediatric cancer research organizations, including St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. Lampion Press is selling the book online, at lampionpress.com.

Isaac Feldberg can be reached at isaac.feldberg@globe.com.
Loading comments...
You're reading  1 of 5 free articles.
Get UNLIMITED access for only 99¢ per week Subscribe Now >
You're reading1 of 5 free articles.Keep scrolling to see more articles recomended for you Subscribe now
We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles.
Continue reading by subscribing to Globe.com for just 99¢.
 Already a member? Log in Home
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.