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Number of Pages: 256
Vendor: Harper Wave
Publication Date: 2016
|Dimensions: 9.0 X 6.0 X .9 (inches)|
NAACP Image Award Finalist, and Winner of the 2016 Friends of American Writers Literary Award and the Christopher Award
In the spirit of The Blind Side comes a deeply moving memoir about the unexpected bonds that would transform three lives.
Lisa Fenn produced human-interest features for ESPN for over a decade, but one particular story came into her life and never left. After seeing a newspaper image of two young wrestlers from one of Cleveland’s tougher public high schools, Lisa followed a hunch and flew back to her hometown to meet the boys that very day. What she found caused her spirit both to sink and to soar.
Leroy Sutton, who lost his legs in a childhood train accident, could often be found riding on the back of Dartanyon Crockett, who was legally blind and had no permanent place to call home. Initially drawn together by their handicaps, the boys soon developed a brother-like bond. When one wrestled, the other sat on the edge of the mat, and their cheerful friendship was a source of inspiration throughout the halls of their high school.
As Lisa filmed her feature about this remarkable friendship for ESPN, she grew to understand the suffering Leroy and Dartanyon had endured, and she fought for their trust and their confidence. The three formed a surprising and meaningful connection—and once the television story ended, Lisa realized she couldn’t just walk away.
Though Leroy’s and Dartanyon’s futures were limited by abject poverty, Lisa resolved to give them the chance she knew they deserved. She worked tirelessly to see them through school and athletic pursuits, broken hearts, phantom limbs, and the bewildering obstacles that, at every turn, tested their individual strengths even while strengthening the bonds between them.
More than a story of two underdogs overcoming innumerable hardships, Carry On is a touching tale of an unlikely family forged through barriers of race, class, and disability. It is a powerful memoir about grit, love, hope, and faith—and the courage to carry on, even in the most extraordinary circumstances.
Author: Lisa Fenn
Located in: Boston, MA
Submitted: July 07, 2016
Tell us a little about yourself. I was raised in the Midwest and started growing in my faith at the age of sixteen. I attended Cornell University, after which I began my career as a feature producer at ESPN. It was there that I developed a love for telling stories, and telling God's stories in particular. Thirteen years and six Emmy awards later, I am now raising my two young children and traveling to speak on issues of leadership, poverty and transracial adoption, in addition to my Christian faith and its relevance in both media and daily life.
What was your motivation behind this project? Throughout my twenties and thirties, people often told me that I should write a book. They thought I had a flair for words. "I may have a flair," I thought, "but I don't have anything to say." I hadn't lived enough, or learned enough, to be a meaningful voice in the world. Then one day, I suddenly had something worth saying. Leroy Sutton and Dartanyon Crockett, two of the central characters in this book, gripped my heart from the first moment I walked into their high school gym to pursue a story for ESPN. Through our filming, they reshaped my thoughts on race, class, disability and faith. Afterward, they became my sons. Furthermore, our journey together reframed my understanding of what it means to be blessed. There was once a time I believed that blessings were things we possessed: stable jobs, good health, promising opportunities. I believed these were heaven's rewards for living well. But I now understand that a blessing has less to do with what we have and everything to do with what we are able to give. I understand that blessings come from being part of a redemptive journey here on earth, in allowing God to work out the injustices through us. Blessings come when we walk alongside another to pick up the broken pieces and together restore the beauty. And as we have walked together, I have watched Leroy and Dartanyon inspire me, and countless others, to be the ramps and the vision, the mothers and the fathers and the guides. They've drawn us out of safe spaces to become bridges across perceived barriers. They've taught us about darkness and light and our ability to be the living difference between the two. They've taught us that when we accept what we are called to do, we become who we are created to be. And through this book, they will teach many more what it means to carry on.
What do you hope folks will gain from this project? Our story appeals to those up against long odds, and those wanting to become agents of change. It touches mothers, teenagers and those looking for a good underdog sports story. Above all, demonstrates that we can change the world when we enter into another's world.
How were you personally impacted by working on this project? Writing this book gave me space to reflect on a four-year period of my life that was a bit of a whirlwind. Mapping out chapters helped me to trace God's redemptive hand, noticing redemptive threads and nuances of His love that I had overlooked while living the experiences. On a practical level, I learned how to be productive and creative on cue. With two toddlers underfoot, waiting for the perfect time and mood in which to write proved unrealistic. I learned to merge discipline and creativity. In doing so, I found Winston Churchill's sentiment on writing to be profoundly true: "Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with it is a toy and an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public."
Who are your influences, sources of inspiration or favorite authors / artists? My early faith was shaped by writers like Phillip Yancey, Anne Lamott and Elisabeth Elliot. Lately I've been enjoying Henri Nouwen.