Jenna’s Book – The Magic Bissie Tree
At the tender age of eight Jenna started writing a story during one of the many ‘author-author’ games she used to play with Kristi. This one was started during an afternoon visit to their much-loved Grannie Annie. Jenna arrived home clutching some scruffy handwritten pages (I still have them buried somewhere) which I (her mom) read later that evening. Reading those pages for the first time made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. It was the making of a really good story, although supposedly of little significance. With much encouragement and love from Stuart and I, friends and family, Jen finished ten chapters of her magical adventure story in just six weeks.
Three years later her hopes and dreams were fulfilled when “The Magic Bissie Tree” was published. The illustrations were done in collaboration with a young and very dear family friend, Ashleigh Arton, who was just two years Jenna’s senior. This was a book for children created by children.
We decided to self-publish The Magic Bissie Tree and started by printing just 200 copies for friends and family. Word soon got around and before we knew it, there were none left. We decided to print in bulk – 2000 copies. It was at this point that ten-year-old Jenna insisted on giving a percentage of all the sales to a cause. Her dream was always to make a difference in this world of ours.
Written by Jenna Lowe at the age of eight, this is the story of a little forest girl who steps on a thorn and falls gravely ill. Together with a witch doctor she sets off on an incredible journey to find ‘The Magic Bissie Tree’. They have many adventures and finally find the tree that holds the key to her healing.
Said Jen, “The media machine kicked in regardless of mom and dad’s good intentions to shield me, and I did loads of interviews and shoots. It was during one of these that I had the privilege of meeting Chaeli and Zelda Mycroft from the Chaeli Campaign. I wanted to support their cause – 25% of every book sold went to the Chaeli Campaign. In return Zelda supported me greatly by encouraging me to speak at her networking breakfasts and seminars, which later contributed towards me developing a love for public speaking.”
Many successful years passed. Eventually book sales slowed down and life moved on to other challenges. We still have copies of the book stacked in our garage.
A few years later Jenna and Kristi’s beloved young cousin, Natalie, was diagnosed with Chordoma, a very rare form of cancer. We immediately dusted off Jen’s books and began selling them at fundraising events for Natalie’s surgeries. Said Jenna: “People began commenting on the parallels between “The Magic Bissie Tree” and Natalie’s story. My tale you see, is about a young girl who falls suddenly ill. It’s about the generous people who help her on her way, the challenges she faces and the bravery she shows in the face of her rare condition. The girl in my story had no name, but after Natalie was diagnosed I felt that the valiant ‘Little Forest Girl’ was Natalie, a real-life warrior-princess, far more courageous and inspiring than any fictional heroine.”
Shortly after writing these words, in a bizarre and cruel twist of fate, Jenna too was diagnosed with a rare, life-threatening condition: Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension. And so began her very own long and courageous battle to find her miracle cure, her “Magic Bissie Tree”. Maybe, just maybe, in some weird way, Jenna had written her own story. We lost our beloved Natalie at the age of thirteen in November 2013. Just 19 months later, in June 2015, we lost our beloved Jenna at the age of twenty. Two beautiful young children taken by rare diseases. A fate no family should ever have to bear