“Just as a beautiful rose bursts forth from the snarls of thorns, a beautiful life can be found among the thorns of affliction.” – one of the concluding comments in Debbie Kane’s hand-written memoir, The Beauty of a Thorn, 1978. When four years old, crippling Rheumatoid Arthritis attacked her knee and hip joints. Supported by caring parents and grandparents, she endured numerous surgeries in what were then called children hospitals in Ohio. Understaffed, nights, the residents and doctors often molested the girls, who were shamed into silence, fearing more abuse if they spoke up. Yet Debbie’s abiding faith in God buoyed her spirit.

Despite pain fusing her entire body, her quick mind devoured books. Her desire to help others prompted her to become a motivational speaker, and her cheerfulness attracted life-long friends. Marriage with David Kane was an unexpected blessing.

An experience in prayer challenged Debbie to write her memoir, a daunting three-year task. Whenever her hand cramped in pain, someone always took over. One hundred and forty-one helpers are acknowledged at the end of the book.

Debbie Kane’s story has touched mine. Her memoir has a place in the annotated bibliography for my next book, on the spiritual implications of living with chronic pain.

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