When a close friend of ESPN’s Mike Greenberg, and his wife Stacy, passed away from breast cancer in 2012, he knew he had to do something to remember her by, so he wrote a novel. All You Could Ask For centers around three women united in the struggle against breast cancer who share sacrifice, compassion, and friendship. In this guest post, Mike reflects on the journey to writing the book and he and his wife talk about their reading lists. The paperback edition of All You Could Ask For is on sale now.
Click here to enter for a chance to win a Skype for your book club with Mike Greenberg. For more on All You Could Ask For, visit and follow Mike Greenberg on Twitter (@ESPNGreeny); Stacy Greenberg (@StacyGSG) and William Morrow Books (@WmMorrowBks). All of the author’s proceeds from All You Could Ask For will go to The V Foundation for Cancer Research (@TheVFoundation).
I can’t believe this day is really here.
It feels as though it has been a lifetime in the making. I sold this book in February of 2012. I began writing it in July of 2010. Heidi died in September of 2009. For the book today is the beginning but for me, in many ways, it feels more like an ending.
I have never wanted anything quite the way I wanted this to happen. I am a sportscaster, and I love my job, but when you work as a sportscaster the one thing you understand is that, at the end of the day, you sure aren’t saving the world with your work. You aren’t, to use the common expression, curing cancer.
Well, I’m still not. But at least I’ve done something.
It began when I was sitting at Heidi’s memorial service. A row behind her husband, her son, her daughter. Angry in a way I’ve never been before. Motivated to do something, not knowing exactly what but knowing I had to do something. Because what had happened was just too unjust to bear. Heidi Armitage, 43 years old, beautiful, healthy, funny. Gone. Just like that. Breast cancer. Impossible to comprehend.
So I wrote the book to honor her. And now, for me, comes the completion of the journey. Every penny of the author’s proceeds will be donated to The V Foundation for Cancer Research in Heidi’s name. So my final task is to try to sell as many books, and thus raise as much money, as I possibly can.
I thank you for the countless letters and emails and tweets and calls of support I have received, mostly from people I’ve never met, many from cancer patients, or their loved ones. All I can say to all of you is that I am going to try as hard as I can. For you, and for Heidi.
I cannot express in words my appreciation to the people I work with and work for at ESPN for the support they have shown this project. From day one they have understood how much it matters to me and have enabled and inspired me to take it as far as I can. I hope they are as proud of whatever we accomplish as I am, as I could not have done it without them.
So, thanks everybody, for taking the time to read this. I hope you will pick up a copy of the book. All I can say is, if you knew the woman it was written for, you’d know it was the very least I could do.
Reading with the Greenys
What we’re reading now:
Stacy: Rules of Civility, by Amor Towles. Loving it so far, it’s got everything, glamor, romance, intrigue. If you tweet me (@StacyGSG), don’t tell me how it ends!
Greeny: Mad River, by John Sandford. The Virgil Flowers thrillers are my absolute favorites. If it’s a guilty pleasure, then I am guilty as charged. I love these books.
Stacy: The best book I’ve read recently was The Help, by Kathryn Stockett. Like everyone else, I fell in love with the characters. I also love John Irving and A Prayer For Owen Meany is my favorite.
Greeny: Last year I bought a collection of short stories by Jay McInerney called How It Ended, which was unbelievable, and inspired me to re-read Bright Lights, Big City, which probably captures the era in which I grew up better than anything I’ve ever read.
I wish I had written that
Stacy: I would choose The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald. There is nothing about that book I do not love: the era, the glamour, the romance, the tragedy. I mentioned Rules of Civility, what I like most about that book is that it reminds me of Gatsby, which is probably my favorite book ever.
Greeny: Stacy and I have a couple we spend a lot of time with, Tim and Elizabeth Dugan, who are quite well read and love to debate. We recently spent a three-hour dinner arguing over which book could rightfully lay claim to the title “greatest American novel.”
My vote is for Catcher in The Rye, by J.D. Salinger which I re-read two years ago and loved so much I named our dog after a character; Phoebe, Holden’s sister, who is the only person in the world who makes him feel better. So, I suppose if the dream is to write the great American novel, that’s the one I would say I most wish I had written.
This post originally appeared on ESPN Front Row.