A good book can stimulate the mind and invigorate the spirit. For 17-year-old Catharine, her favorite book, Arthur Ransome’s “Swallows and Amazons,” allowed her to step beyond her battle against a critical illness and became the inspiration for her fondest wish to travel to England.
Reading “Swallows and Amazons,” is a long-standing tradition within Catharine’s family. Both her grandmother and mother had read the 1930 book as children and passed the novel onto her. Set in England’s Lake District, the book taught Catharine the meaning of hard work and, more importantly, the power of never giving up.
During her stay, she kept a journal of her thoughts and recorded all the details of her views of the compelling country side as seen from her windows and the boat and horseback rides she enjoyed. “Being able to take this trip with my family was amazing,” Catharine says. “It was my first time out of the country and it was incredible.”.
"Catharine's wish was wonderful. She talks about it with everyone, made a display at the library, tells me how much more real the books are when we read them, and often shows me and others her journal, her scrapbook, and the album on her phone," Catharine's mother, Mary Elizabeth says. "She has four framed photographs from the trip on her bedroom walls. The pleasure from her wish keeps growing, and will bring her pleasure for the rest of her life."