Seattle Times columnist Jerry Brewer built a career of offering insights and commentary on the world of professional sports. But it wasn't until the 31-year-old told the story of Gloria Strauss, an 11-year-old girl battling neuroblastoma, that his words truly left the newspaper pages and struck a chord with an entire community.
Brewer's new book, Gloria's Miracle, tells the story of Strauss, a Federal Way girl who inspired her friends, family and strangers with her faith and optimism while battling the deadly disease.The series was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 2008 and is now the basis of Brewer's new book, Gloria’s Miracle, available beginning today.
I recently reached out to Brewer, a friend and former colleague, to catch up and find out a little more about his new project:
You typically write about sports. But in the Gloria series you delved into the world of family, faith and mortality. Why do you think this story has resonated with your readers?
First of all, I think readers loved Gloria -- her honesty, her sincerity, her beauty, her love of life. I think they were attracted to the intimacy of the tale, too. People don't often allow the public into their lives during such trying times. And there are a lot of universal themes in this tale. Everyone has to know how to live and how to handle death. Everyone has been affected by cancer in some way, unfortunately. Everyone has to decide what they believe in, and that's the note I tried to play in talking about faith. I didn't want to force any beliefs on anyone. I simply wanted to tell the story like it is and talk about religion in a more inviting manner.
How did you first learn of Gloria’s story?
Matt Massey, a stringer for The Seattle Times, knew of this story because he'd covered Gloria's father, Doug Strauss, who was the boys basketball at Kennedy High School at the time. He passed i