When One Door Closes: A Teen's Inspiring Journey and Living Legacy
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When One Door Closes: A Teen's Inspiring Journey and Living Legacy

5.0 33
by Susie Graham, Bill Graham
Chances are you or someone you love will soon be faced with an unexpected illness, disability or loss. The choices you make have the power to open new doors for yourself and for others. Discover the powerful influence one person can unleash in the face of tragedy by reading When One Door Closes.

One early fall day Alexandra (Alex) Graham


Chances are you or someone you love will soon be faced with an unexpected illness, disability or loss. The choices you make have the power to open new doors for yourself and for others. Discover the powerful influence one person can unleash in the face of tragedy by reading When One Door Closes.

One early fall day Alexandra (Alex) Graham came home from the mall complaining of pain in her knee. Three months later, at the age of 16, she was diagnosed with bone cancer. Her world and the world of those she loved would never be the same. Fighting osteogenic sarcoma, amputation of her leg and partial loss of lung Alex defines herself by who she is and the choices she makes, not by her illness. Over the course of a year, Alex did not get the miracle she wanted most, but her life and her selfless wish left the world a better place.

In their own words family, friends, medical experts, caregivers and a rock star describe how this teenage girl opened doors and made a difference in their lives. Even individuals who never met Alex share how their lives have taken on new meaning because of her wish and legacy. Through her story find ways you too can confront adversity, live life with meaning, comfort and inspire others, avoid needless guilt and establish a living legacy.

Editorial Reviews

Cicely A. Richard
This book is inspiring for anyone faced with the sudden illness of a loved one, and the brevity of the chapters makes it an easy read.
ForeWord Magazine
ForeWord Magazine
When One Door Closes would benefit family members and friends of anyone with a severe illness. Alex's parents show the importance of honesty when children are diagnosed with cancer. Alex is aware of what's going on with her body; therefore, she is empowered because of her knowledge of what's happening to her. She is completely involved in her treatment, asking doctors questions about procedures she receives.

Teenagers can benefit from this story because Alex's friends exemplify the importance of a close network. The Grahams expect people to shy away from them when Alex is diagnosed but are surprised by their growing circle of friends and by the fact that Alex never experiences loneliness. Alex's friends remain close to her on good days and bad ones.

Although the overall message of the book is positive, When One Door Closes lets readers into Alex's mind by means of her journal entries, telling readers how she feels about losing her hair to chemotherapy and about her future dreams. This shows that she is still a teenager with vanities and aspirations.

Author H. Thomas Saylor decided to write this book with the Grahams after a chance encounter with Alex's mother, Susie. The only drawback of this book is the number of people recounting their stories; many of them share too much background information before talking about their relationship with Alex. However, this book is inspiring for anyone faced with the sudden illness of a loved one, and the brevity of the chapters makes it an easy read.

Product Details

Three Dot, L.L.C.
Publication date:
Edition description:
New Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
14 Years

What People are saying about this

Rachel Naomi Remen M.D.
"When One Door Closes is Alex's story. Sometimes a young person is an Old Soul - someone whose wisdom, compassion, capacity for love, and courage could not possibly be learned in the course of their short lifetime. To meet someone like this is to confront Mystery - and be blessed by it. Blessings to you, Alex. May your light shine on and on. - (Rachel Naomi Remen, M. D., author of Kitchen Table Wisdom)
Harold Kushner
"A moving story of a brave girl who confronted tragedy not by asking, "Why me?" but by asking, "What can I do with this to help others?'"--(Rabbi Harold Kushner, Author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People)
Ed Robertson
"The first time I met Alex was the day before our record came out. I didn't realize she was sick. I just noticed her leg was amputated. She was this beautiful radiant kid. Alex struck me as such an incredibly positive person. Her story and her wish are remarkable."--(Ed Robertson, Singer, Songwriter and Musician, Barenaked Ladies)

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When One Door Closes: A Teen's Inspiring Journey and Living Legacy 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
MomsChoiceAwards More than 1 year ago
When One Door Closes: A Teen's Inspiring Journey and Living Legacy is a recipient of the prestigious Mom's Choice Award. The Mom's Choice Awards honors excellence in family-friendly media, products and services. An esteemed panel of judges includes education, media and other experts as well as parents, children, librarians, performing artists, producers, medical and business professionals, authors, scientists and others. A sampling of the panel members includes: Dr. Twila C. Liggett, ten-time Emmy-winner, professor and founder of PBS's Reading Rainbow; Julie Aigner-Clark, Creator of Baby Einstein and The Safe Side Project; Jodee Blanco, New York Times best-selling Author; LeAnn Thieman, motivational speaker and coauthor of seven Chicken Soup For The Soul books; and Tara Paterson, Certified Parent Coach and founder of the Mom's Choice Awards. Parents and educators look for the Mom's Choice Awards seal in selecting quality materials and products for children and families.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a book that you will want to read more than once! It's very gripping! You CAN'T read this book and not be changed. Alex was truly a remarkable girl and her legacy will LIVE on. I loved the compassion and love behind every word on every page. Thank you to ALL who contributed to this work.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I would recommend When One Door Closes to those of all walks of life teens, young adults, adults, and the elderly. Alex offers wise life lessons on the power of attitude, perspective, strength, and love. Not only does she offer lessons through hardships of illness, but the reader can find strength in Alex's example and apply it to any adversity in life, even the smallest bumps in the road.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book has a message for anyone dealing with an illness. Alex and her family took a tragedy and used it to help and enlighten others. The book is very well written with an interesting concept.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think the Grahams are wonderful parents to raise such an extraordinary child. Their contributions to the situation are one of the main reasons Alex could reach out to others. Her family continuously loved and supported her throughout her treatment, as did her friends. By encouraging Alex's friends to visit at home and the hospital, they provided their daughter with maximum support. By telling her the truth about her disease, they gave Alex the freedom to believe what they told her. (Patients can sense the truth)
The family and friends' efforts to raise money for ACS and Make a Wish, in Alex's name, is a lasting legacy to her memory. Thank you Grahams for teaching us how to cope with whatever may happen in an uncertain world.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
¿When One Door Closes¿ is an extremely well written story of a teen¿s tragic but inspiring fight with cancer. The authors expose the reader to the many cycles of emotion experienced by not only the teen herself but her friends, parents, family, church, medical staff and even her community (and soon you the reader). Her many special qualities and the journey she took with this disease will encourage you to seek out the next opened door. You will appreciate (as I did) this experience being shared.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book, presented in an interesting and easy to read format, is a 'must read' not only for individuals and families dealing with serious illness but for those who have never faced devastating, life-changing challenges. We read of a young woman who bravely takes on these circumstances with amazing strength and determination,not yielding to self-pity,instead showing compassion and understanding toward others. This book lets you put yourself in another's place and ask 'What would I do? How would I react?' Important things to think about!
Guest More than 1 year ago
A story worth reading of an inspirational legacy. These are the reminders we need that the world is only as we choose to see it, and that our life is more far reaching and powerful than we can ever understand. Thanks to the Graham family and friends for letting us all learn and be inspired by Alex's attitude and outlook.
Guest More than 1 year ago
An inspirational story of faith and courage. For everyone that has suffered a recent loss, or is having trouble on their journey in grief. Alex's story is balm for the hurting heart. She leaves a legacy that continues to touch and heal the hurting.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Heartbreaking yet so heartwarming. I was humbled and totally inspired
Guest More than 1 year ago
A heartbreaking journey filled with honest remembrances. A must read for anyone who has or will ever face adversity (all of us...). A fitting tribute to an amazing young woman.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Alex has redefined my understanding of an Angel.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It doesn¿t sound right when I say aloud that I loved this book when I think of the circumstances of why it was written but once I started reading it I just could not put it down. I was compelled to search for an answer or make some sense out of why bad things happen to good people. Perhaps one day I will get that answer but for now I know I will walk away trying to be a better and stronger person because Alex¿s story is so inspiring. Who knows - maybe one day I will discover that this is the answer for me. I want to thank her parents, family and friends who have so graciously shared Alex¿s story with the world. I¿m sure Alex is smiling down on everyone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a powerful book. Insightful and moving, it pulls your whole heart into the book and the life of Alex. Well written with lessons to be grasped. Don't miss the opportunity to truly be moved in heart.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Because the book is written from so many different perspectives it gives the reader a Rashomon effect of this girl's life and illness. It is ultimately sad, but at the same time gives insight into coping with an illness that effects so many people, not just those who are afflicted with the disease. A great read. Highly recommend.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is not only a moving account of how a young girl handled the illness that took her life but it also shows how her attitude affected all those whose lives she touched. That Alex was courageous and uncomplaining is a given but what came through to me was how she maintained her fantastic sense of humor even at the worst of times, and continued to have fun, at the best. Instead of feeling sorry for herself when her leg had to be amputated, she had her girlfriends polish her toenails the night before the operation and wrote a message on her leg for the surgeon, cautioning him to be sure to remove the 'sick' leg and not the healthy one. Whenever she was physically able to, Alex continued to go to concerts, games, shopping and to the beach with her friends. She even 'danced' at a wedding in her wheelchair and helped out her mom in her card store. As long as there was life in her frail, little body, she lived it to the very best of her ability, right up to the end. Since her parent's share of the book's proceeds is going to the Make A Wish Foundation, by buying it you can play a part in helping to make a desperately sick child's wish come true while learning what real courage is all about and keeping Alex's memory alive.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book comprises poignant, straight from heart reflections from those whose lives were deeply touched and influenced by Alex. Through it you get to know her, even if you have never met her. Every person on earth needs to read this book!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
It's rare these days to not be connected to someone who is undergoing a life-threatening disease. It's even rarer to find someone like Alex who used her situation to have a positive and lasting impact on others. While the subject matter is heavy in terms of a young girl's fight with cancer, it reads in a way that lets you, the reader, stop and reflect on each chapter as its own story, taking it in at your own pace. Having said that, I found myself completely captivated and had a very hard time putting it down. I especially enjoyed the excerpts from Alex's journal and the stories of her family and friends. Alex was a normal girl, but in so many ways she was an extraordinary soul. Her life is inspiring, and you will be changed after reading her story.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Every page of this book shows you how to live your life in very simple terms. In her short life, Alex touched everyone she knew showing us how easy it is to make the right choices in life. Now her generous parents are sharing Alex's simple magic with the world. This book gives the reader the strength and courage to live life as all humans should. The world would be much improved if everyone read it. You will be much improved if you read it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I regret that I never had the chance to meet Alex. But I feel like I got to know what an amazing person she was by reading this book. Each chapter shared another treasured memory by the people whose lives she touched. Alex will never be defined by the disease that took her life. She showed her strength and spirit in each day of her short life. Still today, Alex's legacy lives on. Even people who never knew her can benefit from her wisdom, attitude, and love of life. I highly recommend this book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
WHEN ONE DOOR CLOSES is an intriguing page-turner. You can't wait to find out more about this amazing teenager. Alex Graham shows the reader how one individual can have a memorable impact on people and make the world a better place for having been here. I have shown the PSA of Alex's Wish around the country through my work with various charities and disability organizations. People are highly impacted by the story of this courageous young woman. Alex's blessings continue to flow death did not stop her message. This book is a must read for people of all ages. Dorothy Pitsch Author of Wheels of Love
Guest More than 1 year ago
My daughters and I have all finished reading When One Door Closes and are only sorry we never got to meet Alex. Her parents have been an inspiration to us for the past 10 years encouraging us to do good deeds in Alex's memory. The life long message you learn from this book is to appreciate what you have every single day and not to be self absorbed. I just ordered 10 copies to give to my daughters bridesmaids at her wedding.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am unfortuante bec I did not get to meet Alex but I am so fortunate having the ability to get to know her thru her writings and stories. There aren't many people you meet or read about that have the ability to touch you with every written word. As I read her book I cried every other page but they werent tears of sympathy but tears of love 'which is funny bec I dont even know her'. I loved they way this girl who was given a hardship never showed it, no matter how much pain she was in other people came first. I wish I had the ability to enjoy life like her and touch people the way she did. This girl enjoyed every moment of her life and family and no matter what hard ships came her way she still remained the funniest, sweetest, bravest girl everyone loved. It is an unfortunate situation but noone would have been able to make such an imapct on people they way she did. She truly was an Angel! I wish I met her!
Guest More than 1 year ago
As an interviewee for the book, I had the opportunity to read an advance copy and found that this book is such a gift. At first, I thought it might be just for people who are or have experienced cancer. But as I got further into it I realized that this book is for everyone! The stories are weaved together so well and I was able to read the entire book in two days. And, it left me with such a beautiful perspective of life. The Grahams involved everyone in this experience and for that, they were blessed and they were a blessing to so many. This book should be a #1 bestseller! Thank you to all who participated in making this project come to fruition - now even more of us are blessed!