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Dying Dad Writes 'I Love You Like...' Book for Young Son logo 8/1/2019 Genny Glassman
a man and woman posing for a photo: father-dying-from-cancer-writes-childrens-book-for-son-inline3-190729 42e68cdb52897775a86b86a460f0ec4b © Provided by RockYou Media(; father-dying-from-cancer-writes-childrens-book-for-son-inline3-190729 42e68cdb52897775a86b86a460f0ec4b

Some parents write letters and others make videos, but when Scott Sutton learned that he had an inoperable tumor, he wanted to create something special that he could leave with his son. The father of one knew he didn’t have much time left, so using some inspiration from a long-distance friendship, he created a book, “I Love You Like…” that his son Alec could cherish for years to come.

The Suttons' heartbreaking journey started in 2009, when they were told that Scott had a hereditary condition called Von hippel-Lindau (VHL), which describes as “an autosomal dominant genetic condition resulting from a deletion or mutation in the VHL gene.” The illness manifests itself in cysts or tumors throughout the body, including the brain, spine, eyes, kidneys, pancreas, adrenal glands, inner ears, reproductive tract, liver and lungs.

Scott's wife, Anne, tells that doctors discovered a neuroendocrine, or carcinoid, tumor in his right lung, “which is different than a VHL tumor and is considered cancer,” she says, lamenting that, “both VHL and neuroendocrine cancer are extremely rare diseases.”

Scott had part of his lung removed. “We had hoped that would be the last time anyone ever told him he had cancer,” Anne says.

But in January 2016, they would again face their old foe. “After months of lower back pain, we found out he had an inoperable neuroendocrine tumor in his sacrum,” his wife explains. “More tests would soon show that he also had neuroendocrine tumors in his liver, brain, and other parts of his bones. He was told it was stage 4.”

a man holding a baby: Scott Sutton holding Alec Sutton © Provided by RockYou Media(; Scott Sutton holding Alec Sutton

Anne told that her husband had hoped he would live long enough to see his son, then eight months old, turn five. “He was hoping he would be around long enough that Alec would remember him,” she said. But his chance of survival seemed small. “It was spreading and acting more aggressive,” Anne said. “He decided... ‘I need to reevaluate life and I need to leave something for Alec.’”

Scott considered leaving a video full of advice that his son could watch when he got older, but decided against it in case Alec eventually had another father figure in his life. However, he did want to do something special for his boy to let him know how much he loved him.

That same year, Scott’s close friend, Alec Traub, visited him in Pittsburgh from Los Angeles after his stage 4 diagnosis.

“We were all visiting and Alec and Scott started to do what we typically do — saying these quips back and forth, trying to outdo one another,” Anne recalls to The two long distance besties frequently told “each other how much they miss each other (like the grasshopper loves the grass… and hopping),” she continues. “Almost at the same time, the idea came to them that maybe they should try to do something with these quips. That’s really how the idea for the book was formed.”

Gigi D'Alessio standing next to a body of water posing for the camera: Scott Sutton and Alec Traub © Provided by RockYou Media(; Scott Sutton and Alec Traub

Alec started tracking their favorite quips, and over the next two years the two men would write their book. Scott had never written a book before, Anne tells us, and took to YouTube to watch tutorials on how to write a children's book. 

They did make one small change to their bit. Instead of their typical "I miss you like.." the two men decided to call the book "I Love You Like..." and fill the pages with all the things that reminded Scott of his son.

Scott did live long enough to see the book get published in September 2018. His wife tells us that he lost his battle with cancer only a few months later, on December 13, 2018, at the age of 36. "Which was also my birthday," Anne adds. 

Anne notes that the proceeds from the book will go towards her son's college fund, and that the response to the book has meant so much to the two of them. "Now, the book means even more… to see so many families reading with their kids and getting so much enjoyment out of the story. We're all simply blown away by how well-received it has been," she says.

a little girl posing for a picture: ED7C905E-2A5B-40EB-A763-9BAEC9FEBAF0 © Provided by RockYou Media(; ED7C905E-2A5B-40EB-A763-9BAEC9FEBAF0

However, there was only one person's opinion who Scott wanted to hear most of all. "Scott was nervous to show it to our son," the mom says. "In his mind, Alec was THE critic — he'd be the one to tell us if this book was legit."

But of course, the then-three-year-old loved it from page one. "What a relief it was to then see Alec and Scott reading this book together night after night, talking about all the animals in it," she continues. "Alec calls this book the grasshopper book," she adds because the book follows a father and son grasshopper as the main characters. "He knows his dad wrote it."

For now, Anne says her now four-year-old doesn't quite understand the magnitude of what his father did for him, but she knows that one day soon he'll realize the gift his father has given him. "We'll be in the car driving to work or daycare and I'll tell Alec that I love him. His response will be something from the book... 'like the grasshopper loves hopping, Mommy?'" she says.

a young boy standing in front of a door: IMG 6100 © Provided by RockYou Media(; IMG 6100

And in the end, "the book is Scott, through and through. Everything Scott did in was with purpose, intention," she explains. "I'm not surprised he wanted something tangible and meaningful to leave for our son. Scott had a calm demeanor. The best smile. I can hear his wit coming through the words on the pages on the book. The book is treasure for Alec, and for me, and for his family, and for his friends... he left it for all of us."

RELATED VIDEO: Bride swaps engagement photoshoot to take photos with dying dad [Provided by CBS News]



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