Giovanna Quevedo’s Final Girl Scout Project May Have a Lasting Impact for Pediatric Cancer Patients
The Girl Scout Gold Award is rare, coveted, and often impressive. Graduating Girl Scouts are encouraged to take on a project that makes a lasting and positive, service-oriented impact in the community.
But while no Gold Award is easy, few individuals take the project as far as Giovanna Quevedo of Long Beach has- publishing her own book about radiation treatment for pediatric patients across the globe.
When Giovanna’s mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2019 and began to receive radiation treatment, Giovanna began to wonder and learn about the process. Through her own research on the subject, she began to realize there were books written about radiation and cancer treatment for adults (which as a high school senior she could understand), but there was a considerable gap in learning material for children.
Taking her own family’s experience with wondering what to expect and empathizing with what a child cancer patient must be going through, she decided to write a children’s book about cancer and radiation treatment.
The book is called “A Kid’s Guide to Radiation Therapy” and is available now for free download on the American Child Cancer Organization website’s digital library for children and families to use as a resource. It has also been printed and distributed to Miller Children’s Hospital in Long Beach and to libraries across LBUSD Elementary Schools to be a learning resource locally. Giovanna thanks both Diggy POD Printing located in Tecumseh, Michigan and Sprinting Printing in Long Beach who generously donated their printing services.
The book itself is an amazingly conclusive, but simplified guide to what cancer is, what radiation treatment is, who are the people at the hospital that help, what treatment feels like, what processes to expect, and tips to help children get through the process.
(illustrator Nala Haley)
The book has friendly and helpful illustrations also created by a local high student. Giovanna linked up with Nala Haley through a Millikan High School club. Giovanna told her fellow students the project she was undertaking and asked if anyone could help illustrate. Nala volunteered her services and the two created a true masterpiece that pediatric cancer patients and their parents will utilize for years to come.
All-in-all Giovanna says the book took about four months to research, write, edit, illustrate, and translate (the book is available in English and Spanish). She completed her research by shadowing the radiation team working on her mother at City of Hope Southbay, and also had invaluable help from her project mentor Rita Goshert, the Child Life Director of Miller Children’s and Women’s Hospital in Long Beach. Goshert helped set Giovanna up with child life specialists and the radiation support team at the hospital. Giovanna was able to shadow, ask questions, and learn everything about the process.
Her knowledge comes through extraordinarily in the book which is so clearly written, and includes a glossary at the end to be a quick guide to nouns and pronouns that pediatric patients will hear often during their treatment.
“I wrote this book because I wanted it to be a resource for patients,” says Giovanna. “There’s a lot of power and comfort that comes with knowledge. I wanted to create a resource so that kids know everyone that is on their team and to help them understand that everyone wants them to get better.”
With the Gold Award Project just about finished, she is extremely proud of her work done for the pediatric community and thankful she can make a real impact with it being published on a nationally recognized and high trafficked website.
But she is also hoping her project makes an impact in the local girl scout community and here in Long Beach.
“I wanted to show other Girl Scouts that you can do something really big with your projects and inspire other people and you don’t have to do something just the norm with your project or something that you’ve seen other girls do,” she says.
Giovanna is born and raised in Long Beach, and in the last few months since publishing the book has graduated Millikan High School with high honors and is now a freshman at Long Beach State, on a full President’s Scholarship, pursuing a pre-health undergrad degree.
You can learn more about the project and read the book at Giovanna’s new website for the book: https://akidsguide.wixsite.com/radiation