Episode #34: Bob Martin
Bob Martin is committed to helping the tens of millions of children whose dreams have been shattered or curtailed by a medical issue or one of the many socialization challenges kids often face. Martin has observed firsthand the pain and sorrow a debilitating disease or disorder inflicts on a child and the child’s family. He has also uncovered several serious shortfalls in America’s approach to pediatric research.
Martin draws on his skills as a storyteller and a successful international executive, to apply a unique and multifaceted approach to inspiring kids to chase their dreams and helping those who can’t.
Author Bob Martin has written about 350 pages of his memoir, but that project is on the back burner for the moment. Right now, Bob is focused on writing books for children. As he puts it, his mission is to inspire children to chase their dreams, and to help those who can’t. To Bob, that means writing stories that bring more understanding to the chronic diseases and disorders that kids face. Bob lost a granddaughter to a highly terminal brain tumor and has a grandson who manages ADHD, so he writes from the heart on these issues. Not to mention, he often has help from Keira, his creative granddaughter who has co-authored some books with him — including a book in honor of his late granddaughter called SuperClara: A Young Girl's Story of Cancer, Bravery and Courage. On today’s episode, Bob and I talk about his lifelong dedication to advocating for children, the unique role that grandparents can play, and how his grandson’s experience has helped him make sense of challenges from his own childhood.
Here are some of the things Bob and I chatted about:
Coping with the grief of losing his granddaughter Clara to a brain tumor in October 2017
His longtime experience as an advocate for at-risk children domestically and internationally
Learning, through his grandson, that his own difficulties in school could be linked to ADHD
How writing books with his granddaughter Keira helped him build a strong relationship with her
Why it’s important to him that his books don’t lecture, but instead help children learn
His most recent book, which focuses on a child with ADHD, and what he hopes young readers will understand after reading it
How he views the role of a grandparent, and why he creates a nickname for each grandchild
The tributes that have been made in honor of Clara, and how he holds her in his memory
His discovery that pediatric cancer research was primarily interested in a cure, and was less focused on life-sustaining treatments
His hope of continuing in his role as an advocate and finding an organization to take on the foundation’s work
His advice for how grandparents can carve out a role for themselves and ease the burden on parents
Support for this episode comes from Ouchie. Ouchie is a free app for iOS and Android that provides solutions for chronic pain management. It uses evidence-backed tools like cognitive behavioral therapy, pain tracking, community support, access to resources, and integration with clinicians to help people feel better, faster.