We are pleased to introduce Donald Lepp. Donald has recently published Heart Broken with us, which is now available order here, and everywhere fine Christian books are sold. We asked Donald to share a little bit about his writing, and new book. But first, a little bit about him.
A speaker, author, and advocate for patient—and family—centred care in the healthcare system, Donald is currently on the Board of Directors of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and chairs the board’s Quality, Patient Safety, and Innovation Committee.
Donald lives with his family in the Winnipeg area, where he enjoys his space and
working on some kind of project around his home, claiming to be “handy.” He enjoys
quality time with his quad, chainsaw, and lighting things on fire. He will die, having never owned a minivan.
Q: How did you start writing? Was it something you always did?
A: I never thought of myself as a writer. Still, in retrospect, I have always done a considerable amount of technical writing in my professional career, and I have frequently used writing as a tool to clarify my thoughts, and it certainly is therapeutic. Looking back now, I realize that writing was always a part of my life.
Q: Why do you think it is important for a father to write a book like this?
A: Men are struggling with their role in society today. I hope by sharing my experiences that other fathers might be able to identify with many of the issues I faced and how I had to answer questions about what was truly important in my life—questions about my role as a husband and father.
Q: This book is about your family? How do they feel about their story being told?
A: I gave full editorial discretion to my wife, but I am very thankful she gave me a great deal of latitude to write about some very personal experiences. Our kids, on the other hand, are a very different story; they are old enough to have some strong feelings, and I did feel compelled to get their okay to share their stories. Writing this book has sparked many conversations in our home; and by being open in this way, we have gained a greater appreciation for our unique family.
Q: Is this the first book you have ever written?
A: Several years ago, I printed our private blog that my wife, Susan and I wrote together. This blog was a series of posts that encompassed and an eighteen-month period when she and my son were hospitalized. Complete with comments from many family and friends. I had the blog published and gave it to her as a present—a book with an audience of one. Although it is technically not a book, I still consider it my first published work, and that book is exclusively hers.
Q: Your story is very personal and can evoke a lot of emotion. Was it difficult to write?
A: I have shared my story in public many times, so I knew that part of writing this book would be difficult. Every time I have shared our story, I have had to re-live some aspects. However, the book forced me to go into much greater detail about some of the darkest moments of our lives than I ever had to before. To this day – there are several passages I still have a hard time getting through. There are two chapters that my wife has vowed she will never read.
Q: What is the “patient story” genre, and how is it impacting health care?
A: Being involved in patient advocacy for many years, I have likely heard hundreds of patient stories—a short ten to fifteern minute oral sharing of a first-hand account of a particular incident or experience. I have shared our own patient story on numerous occasions. The patient story has become a mainstay in many health care organizations to identify and solve many issues within our health care system.
Q: Explain the significance of your book cover?
A: The cover could only be described as a happy little accident. I quite literally grabbed a few items from home that represent components of our story – to create a collage. Artwork that my son Russell did in Grade two, an EKG tracing, our wedding bands, etc. We simply threw some of these items on a concrete floor and started taking pictures. With some editing and applying some filters – we had the cover. Everything on the cover has some significant meaning – some overt and some very subtle.
Donald Lepp is a speaker, author, and advocate for patient- and family-centred care in the healthcare system. He is currently on the Board of Directors of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and chairs the board’s Quality, Patient Safety, and Innovation Committee. He lives with his family in the Winnipeg area.