The new book, A Season with Mom, by Katie Russell Newland '98, M'99 offers more than an invitation to enjoy the appeal of baseball. Through intimate letters to her late mother, her memoir invites readers to reflect on their own lives. Peyton Manning shares in his foreword that Katie’s insights throughout the book “will hit home for anyone who is a daughter, a son, a mother, or a father.”
There are thirty Major League Baseball ballparks in America. Katie visited all of them in one season. This ballpark journey was a dream she and her mom first planned to do together when Katie was thirteen. But the dream dimmed when her mother died from cancer in 2009. In the years following her mother’s death, Katie went on to receive treatment for her own cancer diagnosis (Hodgkin’s lymphoma and melanoma) while completing her doctorate in education.
After being declared two years cancer-free, Katie decided to finally go after their shared dream. Her book covers the baseball adventure that ensued. Each chapter (one for each ballpark) weaves together family, baseball, and her journey of healing as both a caregiver and as a cancer survivor. The themes she created as her chapters, such as “BEgin, BEcome, BE Open,” entice readers to pick up this book again and again, turning to a chapter as a tool for reflection when seeking insights on their journey in life.
Cancer touches almost everyone’s life in some way. Katie offers a unique perspective as a caretaker to her late mother, a patient, and now a survivor. She hopes her book in some small way will resonate with readers. “Everyone’s experience is different. Treatment looks different. Just like no two ballparks are the same, no two people go through cancer the same way. But the emotions are universal.”
Katie hopes her book inspires more open communication between family members, especially during difficult times. It is “hard to have those tough conversations” going through the experience of cancer or any other traumatic experience. But “communication is the conduit for healing. Don’t wait until it’s too late.”
Visit www.katierussellnewland.com to learn more about Katie and her work and to order her book, A Season with Mom. Katie’s love of baseball will come as no surprise to those who knew her at Trinity as she was awarded the “Most Valuable Intramural Female Athlete” two years in a row. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Humanities in 1998 and her Master of Arts in Teaching in 1999.