Katy, TX, June 22, 2009 --(PR.com
)-- What would you do if you knew your time was short? Rick Weber’s Pink Lips and Fingertips, a new release from Xulon Press, answers this question through the life of Jeri Ivison Paholek, who was born with a rare heart defect called common ventricle and given a death sentence by the medical community. Instead of retreating inward and playing it safe to extend her years or embarking on extravagant global adventures, Jeri chose to impact the world—whether by corresponding with convicted bomber Timothy McVeigh on death row or starting a prayer stand immediately after the 9/11 attacks.
“In our world today, it seems like we’re on a journey down a mine-filled road of negativity—bank bailouts, immoral financiers swindling investors, companies downsizing or folding, the fear of a swine flu pandemic,” Weber says. “Deep inside, every one of us has a desire and a need to be inspired, to be captivated, to truly believe in the goodness of humanity. Jeri’s story—her indomitable spirit in the face of death—lifts us out of today’s caldron of confusion and allows us to shut off the commotion. I think this book comes at a critical time. You will not approach life the same way after reading it.”
Jeri’s heart defect meant that the septum was entirely absent at birth and the two ventricles merged to form a single chamber. It resulted in primary pulmonary hypertension (or Eisenmenger Syndrome), in which the lung’s vessels are constricted, forcing the heart to pump harder to overcome the resistance and causing irretrievable damage. As she got older, all of her extremities were blue. One of her greatest desires was to have “pink lips and fingertips.”
In 2003, Jeri was believed to be one of the oldest living Americans with her condition who had never had transplant surgery. But her organs were weakening. She was given a week to live unless she received a heart-lung transplant. Would she receive the organs she needed in time?
Weber has forged a reputation for telling human-interest stories with compassion, pathos and perspective. In 1997, he was a top-10 national finalist in the Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) contest largely because of a column about a Miami Dolphins front-office assistant who died at age 23 after battling cystic fibrosis. Two years later, he was a top-10 national APSE finalist for best feature story. He also won the 1994 Casey Medal For Meritorious Journalism for a package on teen-age runaways, “A Tragedy, Not a Romance,” that was full of gripping stories of life on the street.
Pink Lips and Fingertips is unique because it touches the reader with powerful, poignant storytelling. It delves deeply into Jeri’s personality and faith, explaining why, knowing more acutely than most of us that every breath truly could be her last, she didn’t become bitter or engage in selfish, worldly pursuits. It tells the remarkable story of how Jeri, facing death, transformed the Stanford University Medical Center staff with her love and concern for others.
“Rick Weber has always searched for greater understanding of his subjects and the obstacles they face,” says Yahoo!’s Jason Cole. “Finding solace and inspiration in their tales goes beyond merely the details of his career, but permeates who Rick is on a personal level. It’s again obvious in his best work to date, Pink Lips and Fingertips. Jeri’s story isn’t just for those of faith, but for those who simply need to understand the will to survive and thrive in the face of life-threatening challenge.”
“This is an inspiring story that recognizes all heroes don’t march in parades or speak before crowds,” says the Miami Herald’s Armando Salguero. “Jeri is petite and literally suffers from a broken heart. But she refuses to disconnect from God, who authors a supernatural miracle activated by love, courage and faith.”
Weber, 51, graduated from Penn State with a B.A. in Journalism. He has written over 10,000 newspaper and magazine articles and contributed to Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Golf Book.
Pink Lips and Fingertips is now available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, xulonpress.com and target.com, or on order at 25,000 U.S. bookstores (ISBN: 978-1-60791-752-6). Retailers can order the book through Ingram Book Company and Spring Arbor Book Distributors.
If you are interested in an extended feature, Weber is available for interviews.