While Targhee Media has been dedicated to my photo and video content, I have spent much of my free time over the last two years on an unrelated personal passion project. In fact, this project has monopolized much of my time since March of 2020. Let me explain.
In 2014, my son Matt, who was 9 at the time, was diagnosed with a pilomyxoid astrocytoma, i.e. a brain tumor. To make a long story short, the surgery was successful, he recovered, discovered obstacle course racing, then ultimately competed in the Spartan Kids World Championship race in 2018 when he was thirteen. He was ranked 15th in the world, an amazing accomplishment for anyone, especially a young boy who survived a brain tumor. Today, he is like any other 15 year-old young man learning how to drive.
Two years ago, my wife and I felt compelled to share Matt's story. It is one of hope and determination, and this world could use a lot more of both. However, we didn't know where to begin. In addition, we felt reluctant to share Matt's story because so many other families do not have the same outcome. Too many children die due to pediatric cancer, and even those who survive are left with lingering disabilities. Matt's outcome is truly miraculous, a best case scenario, and all too rare. Still, the feeling would not leave and we knew we needed to share it, but how?
My wife had an idea to write a book. She even attended a seminar hosted by a prominent author in Utah and came home excited, but approached me and said she felt I needed to write it. Two years, countless edits, and many hours on the computer later, Pilo was published by Targhee Press, a publishing company I started along the way.
I decided to launch a Kickstarter to fund the printing, which was funded. Knowing that only 30% of all publishing projects on Kickstarter get funded, I was ecstatic to achieve this goal. About 120 copies of the books were sold through this campaign. Now, the book is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I am currently working with retailers to get Pilo placed in stores as well.
The number one goal for this book is to make sure it gets in the hands of those who need it. Money doesn't even factor in to my thinking as that is not what this is about. My hope is that readers enjoy the story and feel motivated to do two things: support pediatric cancer research and do something amazing outdoors - running, hiking, whatever. I hope that people who buy the book share it with their friends and family. I hope schools purchase classroom sets. I hope Pilo brings light and positivity into this world. Above all, I hope everyone, regardless of their belief system, recognize that miracles can happen, that there is always hope.