Stella Leventoyannis Harvey

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” Winston S. Churchill

I tell friends and strangers alike that holding my novel, The Brink of Freedom in my hands in early October was an incredibly emotional experience. It wasn’t my first novel, but still the tears flowed, uncontrollably at times.

Months after returning from Greece, I remain an obsessed follower of any news of the plight of refugees. I grieve every death, cry with every image of a refugee stuck in limbo in a camp or trudging along a road towards what they hope will be a better future.

Most of the time I feel that I should be on the front lines working with refugees. I’m a social worker, after all, but more importantly I’m a human being who has lived with the refugee crisis for more than three years, researching, talking to people, trying to understand what it must be like to leave a country you love under such desperate circumstances.

The people I met, the stories I heard entered my heart and as long as I live I will not forget the experience that resulted in The Brink of Freedom.

My novel was, in part, a way of trying to get the refugees’ stories out to the world beyond Europe. But I’ve always felt I could do more. That opportunity came in the form of a discussion with my publisher, Karen Haughian of Signature Editions. That woman and I could have been sisters. When we get together to hash out ideas, something spectacular always happens.

It was during one of these discussions we decided to take a portion of the sales of The Brink of Freedom and make a donation to one of the charitable organizations working with refugees. We identified a number of charities, and came up with a short list, all of which were worthy. But, in the end what it came down to was that we wanted the charity to have a Canadian base, and we wanted to be able to direct the funds to the specific crisis with the refugees rather than have funds go into the general revenue of an aid agency.

The Canadian Red Cross met all our criteria. The fact that the Government of Canada had also pledged to match every dollar donated to the Red Cross up to the end of December sealed the deal.

Thank you to all of you who have purchased The Brink. You have made it possible for me to keep giving to a cause I have poured my heart and soul into. THANK YOU!

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