Last November, I had the opportunity to attend the AMTA National Conference in San Diego, California, where I met countless amazing music therapists. One person, in particular, stood out to me; I kept seeing him everywhere I went – the exhibit hall, the sessions I attended, and so on. He seemed like a fun and outgoing person, so I was excited to finally meet him face-to-face and chat a bit towards the end of the conference.
His name was Tim Ringgold, and I came to find out that he was a music therapist (and fellow blogger!) from Orange County, California. We got to talking about his daughter, Bella, who was born with a rare skin disease called Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB). Tim explains it in these words on his website:
Anabella Ringgold was born on May 27, 2009 with a rare skin disease called Epidermolysis Bullosa, or EB. She has the rarest form, called Recessive Dystrophic, or RDEB for short. A single gene in her body responsible for making the anchor that hold her skin to her body is defective. This causes blisters and wounds to occur all over her body, including her mouth and entire GI tract. Any kind of friction, rubbing, bumping can cause blisters to form, or it can cause her skin to shear clean off. Currently, there is no cure for EB. Life expectancy is under 20 years due to risk of malnutrition, infection, or squamous cell carcinoma. Although pain and discomfort is constant, Bella remains bright and cheerful, bless her heart.
I was eager to stay in touch with Tim following the conference, and I was able to do so through Facebook and Twitter. When he announced earlier this year that his book, Bella’s Blessings, was available, I didn’t waste any time in purchasing it. I can’t tell you how glad I am that I did, because it is the latest addition to my “must read” list.
In the book, Tim takes us back to the hours just prior to Bella’s birth. He recounts the moments leading up to it, as well as the actual event, at which point they learned of Bella’s rare skin disease. I felt like I was with the Ringgold family on their roller-coaster of a journey from page 1 to the very end. Tim started a blog just days after Bella’s birth in order to keep family and friends apprised of her progress, and the book contains entries from the beginning through Bella’s first summer.
The back of the book reads: “The secrets to the silver lining…revealed!” This is such a fitting description; Tim and his family found the silver lining in the very darkest of storm clouds. Talk about a story of faith and strength. Faith in God during the most trying and scary times, and strength as they navigated their way though. Tim provided music therapy not only for Bella during her time in the NICU, but the other babies, as well. He shares every emotion, every struggle, every triumph, and every moment of Providence throughout those first few months; my only disappointment was when the book ended. Luckily, Tim’s blog picks up right where the book ends, and we can all keep up with Bella and the Ringgold family.
In the past, I haven’t reviewed books here other than those that I use in music therapy sessions. But Bella’s Blessings is one that I recommend to you, knowing that it will inspire and remind you that there is silver lining in every situation with which we are faced, just as it did for me.
Each month, up to 50% of the proceeds from book sales are donated to a different children’s charity. You can read reviews and make your purchase here. And right after you do that, add Tim’s blog, Care for Anabella, to your blogroll.