Donate to help author Grace Draven beat cancer.

(a note from Grace Draven at the end of this story)

Introduction:

My name is Melanie Renazco. I'm the sister of fantasy romance author Grace Draven and also the fundraising organizer for this campaign.

Grace is a full-time novelist, and if you've read her books, then you know she writes stories that take place in worlds full of magic and enchantment, where heroes and heroines battle inner demons and external monsters. She's told me many times that she has the most amazing job in the world, a true blessing from God. Her imagination, expressed in hundreds of thousands of words, has offered readers entertainment, a few hours of escape, and on occasion, solace when life throws some vicious curve balls at us.

Sometimes reality echoes fiction. My sister now has her own demon/monster to battle and conquer.

Backstory:

On December 2, Grace was transported via ambulance to the ER for blood loss, anemia, and tachycardia. She received a blood transfusion, and after lab work and examination, was then transferred to the larger Dell Seaton Hospital in downtown Austin, TX because they had an oncology department.

Diagnosis and treatment:

On January 5, 2023 she received an official diagnosis of Stage 2B cervical cancer. Her treatment protocol begins in February and will be a regimen of low-dose chemotherapy once a week, external beam radiation five days a week, and 3-6 rounds of tandem-and-ring high dose internal radiation, also known as brachytherapy. The course of treatment will last 8-9 weeks with a 3-month break to follow after which Grace will then be examined/biopsied/scanned to determine if the treatment worked and she's cancer-free.

As most of us know, the treatments to kill cancer can be as challenging as the cancer is life-threatening. Grace will experience the various side effects associated with treatment, which is a grocery list of physical issues that are both immediate, short-term, and long-term. Nausea and extreme fatigue are just a couple of the lesser effects. Transportation to and from treatments and most household duties will fall to Grace's husband, Patrick, who is also the principal caregiver for their autistic son. The family will also receive help from her niece who is giving up her certified nursing assistant (CNA) job and benefits to move in and help with transportation and act as medical nanny to their son.

Financial needs:

Cancer treatment isn't only challenging for the patient, it's expensive, with many associative costs not covered by insurance or even anticipated until yet another medical invoice arrives.

My sister is the sole income earner in her family. Book royalties pay the bills, put food on the table, keep the lights on, and pay for college tuition. Grace's ability to write and produce books will be significantly impacted by her treatment, and while insurance will cover many of what will be astronomical medical expenses, there will be a substantial amount that will be out-of-pocket. The family will also be covering their niece's room and board as well as expenses such as gas, car insurance, and other miscellany that she may need while she stays with them during treatment and recovery.

All of these things, in addition to other medical debt incurred in 2022 due to emergency hospital stays for both Grace's husband and her son, have and will put a heavy financial burden on the family.

Grace and Patrick have support from friends and relatives who've offered help, but any donation to this fundraiser is needed and greatly appreciated. My sister is a class A worrier, especially when it comes to anything financial. I think concern over how to pay bills has robbed her of sleep more than her diagnosis has. Not having to worry about that so much will help her and her family get through treatment and recovery a lot faster and easier. Every dollar donated will go toward Grace's medical expenses as well as boarding expenses for her niece.

If you'd like to learn more about Grace, scroll down to read letters from friends. You can also check out her professional page at https://gracedraven.com.

Thank you in advance for your generosity.

Any questions regarding this fundraiser may be directed to the law office of:

Melanie W. Renazco
Attorney at Law
24215 Kingsland Boulevard
Katy, TX 77494
832-489-3594
832-437-1132 fax

From Grace's editor and friend Mel Sterling:

You probably don’t know me, but I’m author Mel Sterling—AKA “Evil Editor Mel,” and I’m asking for your financial help for Grace Draven.

If you’re as lucky as I am, you have a friend like Grace Draven in your life. Someone who’s always on your side. Someone who can whip up a celebration out of nowhere. Someone who always has the words to make you feel better, to fix a problem, to make an achievement shine. The first time I ever heard of Grace, she was wading into the muck and mire of the internet to take on a bully in the writing circles we both inhabited. That’s just the way she is.

Grace and I have been friends for more than a couple of decades now, but we rarely get the opportunity to get together in person. I live in Washington state, and Grace is a Texas gal. That distance hasn’t stopped us from becoming close friends and co-workers. Like Grace, I’m an author. I also edit most of Grace’s independently published books, while she edits for me and sometimes creates cover art. The magic of technology enables us to communicate often. We combine our skills to produce books to sell to feed our families and pay the bills. Grace jokingly nicknamed me “Evil Editor Mel” because I don’t pull many punches while we work together to make a book the best it can be.

That nickname stuck. It’s proven remarkably effective as a marketing ploy. It’s the reason numerous authors have sought me out for my editorial skills. I’m not the only person Grace has helped over the years. Generous to a fault, if someone sends up a cry for help and Grace can help, she will, often putting herself last on the list.

Now it’s our turn to help Grace. When Grace called me from the hospital to tell me the news, my response was “How can I help?” And I know that’s been the first reaction of many of us who know Grace. While I can’t be in Texas to help in person, I am donating to this GoFundMe for Grace so that someone else can be there.

I’m asking you to do the same. Please help so their niece doesn’t face financial hardship because she’s chosen to put her family ahead of her job. Donate. Buy Grace’s books. If you already own them, buy them for your friends and family.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to hear my story about my dear friend and partner in the writing game, Grace Draven.

Author Mel Sterling, AKA “Evil Editor Mel”

From Grace's friend and fellow author Ilona Andrews:

Hello, my name is Ilona Andrews. I'm writing this on behalf of Grace Draven.

Grace needs help.

She sent me the details about her diagnosis and treatment, and I will add my two cents as a friend. My husband and I have known Grace and her husband Patrick for years. They live 30 minutes away from us, which in Texas terms makes us next door neighbors. They are kind people and good friends.

They have two daughters and a son who is autistic. He is non-verbal, and although he is physically an adult, he can't do even the most basic things for himself and requires around-the-clock monitoring. He recently had some health challenges. He isn't sleeping, he is having seizures, and he can't communicate what's wrong. Because Grace was focused on her child, she put her health issues on the backburner, hoping they'd resolve themselves.

They didn't. On December 2nd, she went to the ER at a nearby hospital for anemia, blood loss, and tachycardia. On January 5th, she received a Stage 2B cervical cancer diagnosis.

Within the next couple of weeks, Grace will begin a concurrent regimen of chemotherapy and radiation. Once the regimen is complete, she'll have 3 months off, after which her oncology team will determine if it was successful in destroying the cancer.

Grace isn't thinking clearly. She told me all this on the phone and I asked her how she would be getting to the appointments, because their oldest daughter commutes to college 23 miles away one way, and someone must be there to watch their son and take him to his neurologist appointments. He can't be left alone at all. While Grace's husband plans to drive her to treatments, she said there may be times when she'll drive herself.

Cancer killed both my mother and my mother-in-law, so I had a front row seat to what chemo does to a body, and I assured her that this wasn't a good plan. We would take her if it came to that.

Fortunately, Grace has a niece who is a licensed CNA, and she volunteered to help. She gave notice at her job, ended the lease on her apartment, put her furniture in storage, and is driving to Texas from Oklahoma this month to stay with Grace and Patrick for as long as they need her.

They are covering her room and board, and they will feed her, but she's giving up her income. She will need money for gas, car insurance, necessities, and although Grace didn't add this part, the family will need money, period. There will be a mountain of medical expenses, and food, and bills, and college tuition, and all of these things that happen when someone is seriously ill. Grace, who is the primary breadwinner, will not be able to work for the next few months.

Please help if you can. Any donation, no matter how small, is greatly appreciated.

Ilona Andrews
#1 NYT Bestselling Author

From Grace's friend and fellow author Jeffe Kennedy:

Hi all—this is Jeffe Kennedy, writing to ask you a favor for one of my favorite people in the whole world.

Many of you who follow me and read my books know that Grace Draven is a fellow author and one of my best friends. If you’ve read and loved my books, there’s a very strong chance you’ve not only heard of Grace, you’ve probably read and loved her books as much or more. I sure do.

I started out as a fan girl of Grace’s stories, falling in love with her artful storytelling and compelling characters. She and I can’t quite agree on who stalked who first, but Grace and I found in each other like minds, for art and for business. We began our friendship through online conversations and became instant besties the first time we met in real life.

Over the past decade, Grace has become one of the most important people in my life. She is my collaborator, my cheerleader, my mastermind business co-plotter, my beta reader, and all-around advice-giver and bringer of laughter. Grace is selfless in the best and worst ways. She cheers my accomplishments with more enthusiasm than I do. She gives to everyone in her life, sometimes neglecting herself in the process.

Other people have told you here about the challenges Grace faces, on a daily basis and now with this cancer diagnosis. I’ve been able to quietly tell some of you what’s going on. Others of you have only known that there were problems. All of you immediately asked, how can I help? This is how:
Contribute to this Go Fund Me. Share this Go Fund Me.

Medical care in the U.S. is scary expensive. Though Grace has insurance, that will only cover part of the costs of the intensive cervical cancer treatment she faces. In addition, Grace will be unable to write while she’s focusing on her health, which means the loss of income for the family she supports. When Grace finally capitulated to the urging of family and friends, when she agreed to this Go Fund Me, I breathed a deep sigh of relief. Grace needs this help. In her typical style, she worried most about asking people who might already be struggling to give up much-needed funds. But as Ilona noted, any amount helps. Sharing this Go Fund Me with others who have more ability to contribute is a great help too!
Grace and I joke about how she pinches the last drop of juice from every penny. I can promise that everything she receives from this fundraiser will be used to the best extent. She’ll stretch every bit of it beyond what’s humanly possible. She does write magic, after all.

So, please—help us get help to Grace in her time of need. Let’s get her back into shape to deliver more of her exquisite stories to the world.

Thank you,

Jeffe Kennedy
RITA Award-winning author of Fantasy Romance

A note from Grace:

Dear friends and visitors,

Even though I wrangle words for a living every day, I found this difficult to write. It seems somehow inadequate or painfully meager in the face of the astounding kindness and generosity offered by so many – friends, family, and strangers alike. However, I'm going to give it my best shot.

When my sister rolled out the Go Fund Me page for me, I prayed we'd get at least one-third funded. That amount wouldn't cover out-of-pocket medical expenses, but it would take care of some of the expenses for my niece. Getting fully funded would also cover my portion of the various scans I've received and will receive. I considered either one a huge win and did a lot of praying, even though I still felt guilty about asking. Some things are just hard to shake even when reason tells you otherwise, you know?

Over the past couple of days, the campaign not only fully funded but skyrocketed beyond the original amount. I've watched all this with a mixture of shock and awe. Mr. Draven's warlord eyebrows have shot into his hairline with every update I've given him. A friend asked me if I was feeling the love. I said yes, but what I feel most is humbled. It isn't just the donations, it's the prayers, the messages of goodwill, of hope, of support, of solidarity. Others have gone through or are going through the cancer ordeal, have lost loved ones to this terrible disease, and have sent words of courage down the wire, along with the core message “You are not alone.”

I'm a fallible human with more weaknesses than strengths, and this diagnosis has and will put my character to the test. There have been a few times over the past month where I've asked myself and asked God “What did I do wrong in my life to get hammered with this?” Those are my stumbling moments. The overwhelming response to the fundraiser, the numerous offers to help, the words of encouragement remind me that I'm asking the wrong question. I should be asking “What in my life did I do so right to receive so much kindness from so many?”

My family and I are forever in your debt, and while I think it's impossible for us to pay it back, we will do everything possible to pay it forward. I am more grateful than any words can ever express for your support. Every message and comment of encouragement is cherished, every cent donated will be an enormous help toward crawling our way out of medical debt.

I also want to give a special shout-out to the following people who have been those pillars of strength and sound advice we all need at some point in our lives:

My sister Melanie Renazco, my sister Kim Bruno, my friends and fellow authors Mel Sterling, Ilona Andrews, and Jeffe Kennedy, my amazing agent Sarah Younger and all the team at the Nancy Yost Literary Agency, long-time-friends Aaron and Krista Silver, and most of all my extraordinary niece, Aislynn Rose, who's put a career on hold and moved to another state to really and truly save our asses when we need it most.

A “thank you” seems woefully underwhelming here, but please know I say it with all the fiery heat of a thousand suns (and a few ugly cries) and do so on the behalf of my family as well. THANK YOU.

May you live long and prosper.

Grace Draven



Your easy, powerful, and trusted home for help

  • Easy

    Donate quickly and easily.

  • Powerful

    Send help right to the people and causes you care about.

  • Trusted

    Your donation is protected by the  GoFundMe Giving Guarantee.