ORANGE, Calif. – Life is full of different chapters; some are good and some are bad. As young as 12-year-old Ethan Posner might be, life has put him and his family through some challenging times.
Ethan is now in remission after three and a half years of treatment at Children’s Hospital of Orange County. He was diagnosed with high-risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia when he was about 7 years old.
“Your whole world is upside turned upside down in the matter of a day, then a week, a month as we got increasing news and learned about the diagnosis. You really feel like there was the world before diagnosis day and the world after,” said Ali Posner, Ethan’s mother.
Posner says her family are made up of avid readers and Ethan was known by the staff at CHOC as a bookworm. Instead of having his eyes glued to iPads like other patients in the oncology floor, Ethan preferred to read books to pass the time and to escape.
“They would give people iPads as they go into procedures and you’re just sitting in a hospital bed all day and you’re not getting any sort of education. So it’s good to read because it’s a way to escape into the outside world more than anything else and it’ll help you stay smart,” said Ethan.
Ethan and his mother noticed that there weren’t a lot of books at the hospital so instead of turning a blind eye, they came up with an idea to make a change. They created Ethan & Choco’s Book Club with the MaxLove Project in December 2015 with the long-term goal to establish a library at CHOC of high-quality books for infants all the way up to young adults. Since then, ECBC has grown.
ECBC now has many different programs, including a bedside reading program with volunteers who pull wagons from room to room to read aloud to children on the oncology floor twice every week. They’ve also created a giving library and a mobile book cart that delivers and gifts books to CHOC patients in isolation. ECBC also hosts special literature-based events that involve giving away books and book crafting.
On Thursday, October 31 at 10:00 a.m., ECBC is hosting its third annual BOO-KS for Treats at CHOC where patients who are stuck in the hospital on Halloween can trick-or-treat for books.
Ethan and his mom also deliver books to CHOC’s Outpatient Infusion Center every month. In order to keep up with giving at least 400 books away every month, the Posner family raises books and money to keep up with the volume of books they’re giving. ECBC also depends on its community and local organizations for help. In September, ECBC hosted its second annual “BOOK IT! Charity Run,” which encourages people to donate books, participate in a walk or run and dress up as their favorite book characters.
“It has been a joy to watch Ethan figure out how to make this hardship give back,” said Ali.
Ali says he came up with his philosophy when he was undergoing treatment.
“You can always find good in the bad. Sometimes you just have to look for it,” said Ethan.
After years of treatment, Ethan has been cleared since February 2018. There is a risk of relapse so Ethan has to return to CHOC regularly for bloodwork and check-ups. Despite raising and donating thousands and thousands of books so far, Ethan still has dreams to continue ECBC. He says his dream is to create a standalone lending library where kids can go to check out books.
Ethan and his mother says there’s a big demand for board books and Spanish books.
To help ECBC meet and exceed their commitment of 400 books a month, please visit the website here.
Editor's Note: It was mentioned that ECBC already has a lending library in the video. That is not correct. It is ECBC’s goal to one day have a lending library at CHOC.