"O'Hara and her husband, Dan, try to make the best of a tragedy--their daughter's death from brain cancer at age 13--by sharing her story. ...Readers...will find the O'Haras' email messages to their loved ones and a year's worth of blog entries inspiring on many levels. ...In her thoughtful afterword, Dr. Cynthia Wetmore of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital writes that the O'Haras are so dedicated to helping find a cure that they delivered Shannon's tumor to her after her death. That donation, and this book, may help other families channel their grief in a positive way." -- Booklist "Drawn from that original blog, with additional notes and photos, this book is a tribute to Shannon's memory and a testament to Jen and Dan's experiences. ...readers may embrace this as the story of a family coming together in the wake of a tremendous tragedy... Recommended for those able to find a sense of purpose in this heart-wrenching story." -- Library Journal "A brave, beautiful, bittersweet book; you will be a better person for reading it." -- Julie Jones, Radio Personality, Rochester, MN "Determined to Matter is beautifully put together and is absolutely heart rending to read. Jen and Dan are so honest and open with their family's battle." - Rachel Schuldt, Executive Director Minnesota Wild Foundation "This is a remarkable story of a remarkable family who faced cancer and death of their daughter Shannon - an all too common experience for families. Reading this book helps us to be in touch with our own experiences with cancer and other health crisis experienced by our family and friends. Shannon, her journey and this story matters." -- Margaret Perryman, President/CEO, Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare, St. Paul, MN "The last half of the book tugs at the heartstrings as the reader walks with the family through Shannon's decline and passing, as well as witnesses their grief and valiant efforts at getting on with their lives. Determined to Matter is a good read for anyone lacking in appreciation for those special people in their lives. It is a reminder to all to look around and really see what wonderful things those we love bring into our world." -- Compass Book Ratings "Determined to Matter is a heartfelt story of facing death at a young age, and the trials that family members of a gravely ill young adult endure." -- Midwest Book Review "...a beautiful, honest expression of what a family goes through. They warn that it's not sugar-coated. It's not, and that's why it's so good. It's full of the range of emotions anyone would feel. Dan and Jen express it all." -- Mike Dougherty, Post-Bulletin, Rochester, MN "While she may be gone, she is certainly not forgotten." -- Paul Christian, Post-Bulletin, Rochester, MN "Hundreds of people kept up on Shannon's condition as her parents, Dan and Jennifer O'Hara, chronicled their daughter's final months in an honest, heart-wrenching online journal...Much like her passion for life and sense of humor, Shannon is remembered for her strength and determination." -- Christina Killion Valdez, Post-Bulletin, Rochester, MN
About the Author
Jen O'Hara is a Rochester, MN, native and graduated from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN, with a BA in Broadcast Journalism. She has worked as a high school educator teaching television production and as a tennis instructor to students of all ages, while also being at home raising her two daughters, Shannon and Erin. Jen has been married to husband Dan for 17 years. She is an avid Broadway musical fan as well as an enthusiast of all kinds of sports, especially golf and tennis. This is her first published work, and it is in memory of her daughter, Shannon. Dan O'Hara is the husband of Jen O'Hara, father of Shannon & Erin O'Hara, and of course, master of Sunny the wonder dog. After earning a BS in Mass Communications from St. Cloud State University, Dan spent 13 years in local television as Sports Director at KTTC TV, Rochester, MN. Today he is a Sales Executive in the Transportation/Trucking industry. Dan's passions are his golf, his backyard and his Minnesota sports teams. Dan continues to wear his heart on his sleeve. Together, Dan and Jen wrote the original blog about their journey through these difficult times, and some blog excerpts in the book are credited to him.