Tori Dajuan is a Far Rockaway author who self-published the book “You Are Not Alone,” which is about being a caregiver for her mother who lost her second battle with breast cancer last year.
“I wrote the book to give strength to people and say it is important to be there for loved ones who are going through battles like that,” said Dajuan, who frequnted the Monter Cancer Center just over the Queens border in New Hyde Park during her mother’s fight with the disease. “When I used to go to the cancer center, there were people there who were alone.”
After her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer again in 2013, Dajuan’s career as a hair stylist took a backseat as she focused on being a stay-at-home mom to her 17-year-old daughter/rapper Tyrema Mosley, homeschooling her son Tyriq Mosley, 10, and bringing her mother back and forth to doctor’s appointments.
“After she got sick again I didn’t enjoy doing it anymore,” said Dajuan about being a hairstylist. “I also didn’t have much time for it.”
Months after losing her mother, Dajuan was inspired by the Michael Jackson hit song of the same title and started to write a book in February 2018 about her experience in order to help people who find themselves taking care of a loved one.
“It was around my birthday – Feb. 9 – and the Michael Jackson song “You Are Not Alone” popped into my head and I immediately thought of my mom and decided I was going to write a book, so I wrote that down on my vision board and I started writing the book Feb. 12.”
Dajuan finished writing the book in early April and then uploaded it to CreateSpace, a self-publishing and free distribution website for books, CDs and DVDs.
On CreateSpace, Dajuan spent days proofreading, editing, creating a cover, going over font size and looking at proofs of the book that she worked on by herself. On April 19, the book was self-published on Amazon, just months before the one-month anniversary of her mother’s Aug. 28, 2017 death.
“I didn’t want to go to a company with my book, because I didn’t want anybody to change the direction I was going... so I had to do a lot of research to find out how to get it out there like places like Amazon,” said Dajuan.
Dajuan wants to use some of the royalties from her books to give back directly to cancer patients who don’t have anyone to take care of them and who are struggling with expenses not covered by their insurance.
She wants to allocate her royalties toward creating funds for co-pays, health foods and travel for cancer patients.
“I am personally donating to cancer patients,” said Dajuan. “I know personally off-hand that medical coverage doesn’t pay everything.”
While giving a copy of her book to the doctors who treated her mother, she met a cancer patient who intended to take the bus home after hours of medical care at Monter, which is located at 450 Lakeville Road, and offered her help to get back.
“I went to my mother’s doctor and took her a book,” said Dajuan. “I saw a patient there alone and I went and sat to talk to her. I gave her some money so that she can get coconut water for her electrolytes... and I gave her my book and she said it lifted her spirits.”
Writing the book was not an easy task for Dajuan, but it was therapeutic for her.
“The reason I wrote the book was because it was a traumatic experience,” said Dajuan. “I had a hard time dealing with the loss of my mom, but when she was sick she always had someone with her.”
Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose